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S. G. and E. L. ELBERT 

iUkdm i 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 




346 & 348 BROADWAY. 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in tlie year 1857, 
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the 
Southern District of New York. 



CHAP. I— Population, Races, ..... 1 
II. — Character, ...... 60 

III. — Democracy, . . . , . .76 

IV. — Self-Government, ..... 127 
Y.— Slavery, . ..... 169 

VI. — Manifest Destiny, ..... 230 
VII. — Foreign Elements, ..... 259 

VIII.— Education, 287 

IX.— The Press, 309 

X.— The Pulpit, 323 

XI.— The American Mind, . . . . .333 
XII. — Customs, Habits, Manners, etc., . . . 366 
XIII.— Country and City, . . . . .393 
Conclusion, ...... 409 

America, the progeny of Europe, differs from the 
generator in many of the most salient features of 
her social and political organisms, differs in public 
and domestic life. To point out these dissimilari- 
ties, to ascertain their sources, is the aim of the fol- 
lowing pages. 

A rapid and succinct view of human affairs 
and events, as far back as the dimmest light of 
history extends, shows that the diversified aspects 
of civilization have been successively elaborated 
through different people and at different eras. It 
demonstrates that the civilizing impulses have been 
inherent, inborn in man, of almost all historical ra- 
ces and nations, and in various regions and cli- 
mates. A higher principle has inspired, mightier 
laws have presided over the destinies of mankind, 
than the exclusively physical law of races. Human- 
ity soars above races and nationalities. However 
active, and at times, however seemingly all-powerful 
may have been the agency of the law of races, it 
has never been paramount. 

In the progressive development of man, in 
the march, the oscillations of civilization, the law 
of races, now scarcely perceptibly, then more dis- 
tinctly but well-nigh uninterruptedly, has receded 


before the more elevated, nobler, and more truly hu- 
mane principles and incentives of man's mental fac- 
ulties, aspirations, and actions. In America these 
principles and lavrs have been put in action with a 
fulness unwonted and impossible in the old world, 
generating here a social state and evolving institu- 
tions almost unknown to the past. 

The social and historical standpoint reached by 
America, solves several problems, which up to this 
time have been distinctly regarded as nearly inso- 
luble, from epoch to epoch, from generation to gen- 

Man as a unit, in the free untrammelled devel- 
opment of his individuality, has been more or less 
thoroughly absorbed in various aspects and ways 
for the benefit of the whole ; and was so even in the 
freest ancient or European communities and states. 
In principle and in fact, individuality has been and 
is still limited, circumscribed, compressed. This is 
the case in the still surviving social structures, as 
well as in the ancient and modern theories of ini- 
tiators, innovators, socialists, reformers, of whatever 
name and principle, with a few rare exceptions. 
For the first time in free America, man's individu- 
ality has been normally fixed and established, its 
rights asserted and realized. Fomier's theories of 
association, hitherto abstract and unrealizable, but 
wantonly and ignorantly confounded with what is 
commonly called socialism — these theories alone 
reveal a higher, more scientific, and therefore fuller 
scope and guarantee for the develoj^ement of indi- 
viduality, for the play of its moral, mental, and 


physical powers and activities. But America fills 
the present, throws effulgent rays into the future. 

Authority and liberty have always struggled 
for pre-eminence and leadership over the historical 
development, and tlie domestic hearth of nations. 
The past has witnessed countless centuries of the 
reign of authority, religious, political, social, and gov- 
ernmental ; and comparatively, only lightning-like 
flashes of that of liberty. The former always endea- 
voring to recover the lost ground, to seize the supre- 
macy over man's mind and his social economy. 
Moralists, men of genius as Dante, philosophers, 
statesmen, have continually attempted to conciHate 
the two antagonistic principles and forces, to mo- 
dify or reduce their extremes, to bring them into 
peaceful juxtaposition, to find in their combination 
an equipoise for society. Some way or other, how- 
ever, autliority gets the lion's share in theory as in 
practice. Here the relations of authority and lib 
erty to each other and to man have received a 
new and elementary realization. 

The principles from which the institutions of 
America have been evolved, form the source of her 
material prosjDerity. It does not enter within the 
range of this work to detail the giant ste^DS of her 
progress, nor to present statistical comparisons. 
Statistics, even the most detailed and complete, 
never axiomatic and conclusive in themselves, 
serve only to elucidate and verify the soundness and 
potency of a dominant social and governmental 
system. And the universally admitted prosperity 
of America, wants not a statistical confirmation. 


Generalizations always embrace all existing or 
presumable exceptictos. To specify these, would 
have been tedious or altogether impossible. For 
good or for bad, for large or smaller contingencies, 
exceptions are implied in the generalizations, which 
constitute the strictures of comparison between 
America and Europe, or relate to customs, manners, 
habits, and usages. A few scattered mountains or 
hills do not constitute the general physiognomy of 
a country, a few warm or cold months do not make 
a soft or a rigid climate, a few brave men or cow- 
ards do not make an army figlit, win, or run. The 
same axiom applies to social and political condi- 
tions, to the appreciation of the most various and 
minute public or private relations, to the moral, so- 
cial, and domestic character of a .land and its inhab- 




A LEADING social feature distiDguishes America from tlie 
European nations. This is the union of the utmost indi- 
vidual independence and equality with a well-regulated 
social and political organization. This radical difference 
already existed in the germs out of which sprang the 
ancient, the Europeati civilization, and this new world. In 
both cases, the embryo was different. Different was the his- 
torical process of formation. A principle begot the Ame- 
rican society; force and conquest were the parents of the 
ancient one. 

To the various characteristics of races are nowadays 
ascribed the various manifestations of social structures and 
civilizations, in their progressive unfolding. Such charac- 
teristics, wholly physical in their nature, are set up as ex- 
clusive and omnipotent agencies in the development of 
human destinies. They are supposed to constitute the 
power of man to elevate his existence, to elaborate the 
various conditions of his social culture. To those charac- 



teristics are subordinated all the other incentives and 
inspirations, which stimulate man's unappeasable activity ; 
nay, they are said to constitute his mental and moral essence. 

By the oscillations which mark the development of the 
world's history, the centre, the focus of civilization, became 
disj^laced from South to North. Now a verdict contrary 
to historical evidence proclaims the so-called southern 
races of every region, of each hemisphere, to be deprived 
of initiative, of active powers, in the labors and struggles 
for social amelioration. On account of the climate, and 
of certain presumed anatomical dissimilarities, they are 
declared to be too weak morally for freedom ; too weak 
physically to be its supports and sanctuary. 

In man, however, as in the universe, every thing is 
wonderfully united. In all regions and in all conditions, he 
is endowed with the germs of similar passions, inclinations, 
tendencies, aspirations. Their development and play, ac- 
tuated by the events and conditions which surround and 
press upon him, carry man decidedly astray at times in a 
special direction, or keep him more fully under the influ- 
ence of his purer and indestructible essence. This law 
— if positive, well-defined laws are to be recognized — is 
human in its nature, all-embracing, and more elastic and 
expanding than that which, according to the variety of 
races and of their dwellings, distributes their participation 
and significance in the eternal epos of our social destinies. 

Societies, nations, and states move, act and live by the 
combination of facts and events of the external world with 
internal human impulses and propensities. Sometimes the 
higher human powers succumb under the pressure of exter- 
nal, and merely material circumstances. Herein the true 
cause is to be found, amidst many explications, of the 
fluctuations of civilization, of its slow march, of its difficult 
expansion even in one and the same nation, dwelling in 



the same region. Moreover, because, by the fortuitous 
concourse of events, a nation, mostly forming a small 
branch of what ethnologically is called race, and favored 
by peculiar combinations, has often become a leader of a 
given epoch, such ascendency was not predestined nor 
permanent. There have been several Ionic States, but 
only one Aihence^ and the Beotians were likewise Greeks. 
The same phenomenon is reproduced in the development 
of all the cardinal and secondary races. 

The lights which illuminate the orbits of the human 
race were not enkindled simultaneously, but one by one. 
They radiated in various directions. Neither North nor 
South, neither this nor that primordial race, nor any branch 
issuing therefrom, has been, in ancient or in Christian 
times, the exclusive and predestined holder of the sacred 
fire. So neither the man of the North nor that of the 
South, is exclusively endowed with the love of liberty, or 
with exclusive mental and physical powers to secure and 
to sustain it. There is no social or historical law by which 
a special race is intrusted with the highest gifts which 
alone constitute the supremacy of man over the inferior 
creation. The tendency to happiness is common to all, as 
well as the efforts for amelioration. These tendencies 
manifest themselves differently, and at various epochs 
among various nations. They are evoked by accidents of 
human, character, and constitute the brightest phenomena 
in the ascending movement of humanity. Their investiga- 
tion unravels the laws by whose action nations appear and 
march on the stage of history. 

And if there is an absolute historical law, revealed by 
the uninterrupted labor of the human race, by its strug- 
gles with nature and with itself, by the bloody as well as 
the luminous pages which fill history, by the efforts for 
ameliorating the moral and material state wherein consists 



civilization, by tlie religious and philosophical speculations 
enkindled in the succession of ages, by the multifarious 
manifestations of the human spirit in literature, in refine- 
ment, in arts, in industrial, mechanical, and agricultural 
pursuits — it is the law of the successive appearance of races 
and nations in the course of history. It is the law of 
transmission from one to another of the sacred fire of 
civilization ; it is the succession of nations to each other on 
the foreground of the events of ages. Not simultaneously 
in all places, and by all races and nations, but in succession 
is civilization to be elaborated. When the time had ar- 
rived for calling a people to light and truth, it mattered 
not whether it lived amid the snows of Scandinavia, or on 
the burning plains of India. The cause of this law has 
hitherto been hidden, unexplained, but the law speaks to 
the mind from all the pages, from all the events, from all 
the evolutions of history. There is no absolute reason 
why the light of civilization should not have spread simul- 
taneously over the plains of Iran %nd over those of Grer- 
many — especially as branches of the same stock, of the 
same family or race, extended, moved, lived, worked, suf- 
fered and enjoyed over this space. But perhaps more than 
forty centuries elapsed before the light, already shining 
and evoking a higher life south of the Himalaya and along 
the Indus, reached the Khine and the Atlantic. And in 
that space and time, how many, and how variously endowed 
actors, how many fertile ideas, and mental and social mani- 
festations, what various utterances of the human mind have 
filled the ages, succeeded to each other, all of them in 
turns initiators and initiated into the great, mysterious and 
nevertheless luminous sanctuary of human development 
and progress. In this succession, each race or nation, in 
its time, brought its offerings, elaborated one or even 
many ideas, according to its own peculiarity, according to 



special data and conditions. But the impulse, the aspira- 
tion towards progress and amelioration, the ethereal sparks 
of this life-giving fire, how different its manifestations; it 
was and is glimmering in the mind, in the bosom of man 
in all regions, all climes, and all physical conformations. 
A luminous current of culture runs throughout the whole 
history of the race, and constitutes its development. Some- 
times rapid and broad, then at times slow and dimmed, but 
never interrupted. The tyranny exercised over historical 
and philosophical studies and comprehension, by the nar- 
row-minded, one-sighted classicisms, — a tyranny resulting 
in a blind confidence and devotion to the axioms and ver- 
dicts of Greek and Eoman writers, — overclouded the judg- 
ment of sound, impartial reason. Thus, on Greek civiliza- 
tion and philosophy was bestowed a power of virtual 
originality and self-creation unjustified by the investigation 
into the history of human development. In our times, 
another tyranny prevails and overshadows the mind ; a 
tyranny more exclusive, because concentrating in one race 
all the better and higher endowments of man, endowments 
constituting the higher essence in which consists the cul- 
ture of our time. It is presumptuously asserted, that only 
northern races are enabled to achieve civilization, in all its 
various mental, social, and material manifestations; that 
only a few northern nations are the exclusive bearers and 
the agents of the culture of the globe. Thus the modern 
post-Koman civilization — according to this haughty verdict 
— is exclusively worked out by the German mind, the 
German race. On this continent, freedom, democracy, ac- 
tivity, those highest goods and conditions of the happiness 
of man, are to form in their turn, preeminently, if not ex- 
clusively, the lot of a single family — the Anglo-Saxon one. 
How little history justifies all this sweeping range of asser- 
tions, can be shown by taking the evidence even at random 



wliicli is amply scattered over its pages. History demon- 
strates that neither climate nor certain geographical con- 
ditions enervate mind and body, disabling men from mental 
and industrial laborious activity. It shows that man is 
subject to these powerful external influences, that under 
their action the events of his life are variously combined 
and manifested. Man reacts on all nature or the medium 
wherein he moves and works. Every thing in creation is 
subject to reciprocal action, — stagnation is death. Man is 
the centre, the focus of the universe ; in him nature or mat- 
ter reaches the highest combination with mind. Thus he 
reproduces and reflects all the countless variety and com- 
binations of those two essences, their modifications and 
graduations, their afiinities, repulsions, attractions. Thus 
he is versatile in his utterances and actions, in his modes 
and methods, in his ways of shaping out the fruits of his 
mental and j)lastic productivity. For this reason, in cer- 
tain conditions, under certain combinations of events and 
of influences, under the inward impulse of faculties and 
propensities, some of them may acquire greater fulness and 
power of expansion than others; these in this manner becom- 
ing crushed, crowded out, remaining in an embryonic state. 
So in inorganic as in organic nature — from various pro- 
portions and combinations of rather a small number of 
chemical elements, come forth an innumerable variety of 
ores and stones, of colors, flavors, tastes, of forms and pow- 
ers in the vegetable and in the animal realm. 

The greatest, the most crushing and difiicult material 
works and labors have been accomplished in the hot re- 
gions of Asia, at epochs when man did not possess such 
various scientific means and tools to bridle and master the 
reluctant elements of nature. There at remote times was 
first accomplished the hardest, the rudimental task of 
civilization. To-day a blast of powder severs immense 



blocks of granite ; machinery cuts, separates and carries 
tliem to various destinations. But are the first inventors 
in mechanics not even more astonishing than those who 
inherited the results of their elForts, and of their suc- 
cessful or frustrated attempts ? The man who understood 
and applied the first rudiments of mechanics, probably 
spent as much power of observation, combination and cal- 
culation as did Fulton, for whom the former prepared and 
smoothed the path. And so with all other sciences, in- 
ventions, industries and productions. Daily experience 
shows how unconquerable and deadly to man is the exu- 
berant vegetation of hot and tropical regions, how difficult 
in those regions to subject nature to the power, to the will, 
to the handling of man. Far more in the Southern clime 
does nature resist and defend itself than in that of the less 
reproductive and moderate North, where now civilization 
shines more brightly. But the plains of Egypt, Syria, 
and of the Indus, cut by canals, watered by art, highly 
cultivated and nourishing millions and millions at the re- 
motest times, those regions covered then with rich, power- 
ful and monumental cities, swarming with industrious, en- 
terprising and therefore skilful and intelligent populations, 
bear witness to the falsehood of the assertion concernino' 


the inability of the Southern races for hard labor, and of 
the absolute enervating influence of climate. What an 
immense amount of labor, skill, industry, invention were 
spent, used up, before those regions reached that high 
state of culture which they enjoyed forty or fifty centu- 
ries ago. The gigantic ruins of the Egyptian civilization 
show a high degree of development in the mechanical and 
architectural arts, as well as of others. And the Brah- 
minic remains ? Energy, industry, refinement flourished 
on the Indus when Greece was probably occupied only by 
savage barbarians, when the man of the now proud North 



had scarcely a hovel wherein to crouch, or the skin of a wild 
beast to cover his shivering body. In their times those 
Southern tropical regions were the seat and representa- 
tives of the highest degree of culture and civilization, 
which man was to reach in a given epoch ; in the same 
way as the man of the Northern regions represents it now. 
Corresponding mental culture of course was the twin, or 
rather the incentive to material progress, and mental cul- 
ture, as reproduced in a higher comprehension of social 
duties in social organization, manifested itself in the past, 
in the remotest antiquity. Love of country, the exten- 
sion over all members of a given society of the means of 
information, the absence of social privileges of caste can 
be traced out to nearly immemorial times, even beyond 
the boundaries of the Indo-European family. 

The antiquity of the now slightly treated Chinese civ- 
ilization is not ascertained. But for the whole period of 
positive history, this civilization seems to have made 
little if even any progress, having at that remote epoch al- 
ready reached a remarkably diversified and eminent devel- 
opment. It is still an unsolved historical problem, whether 
the Chinese received civilization from Egypt or India, or 
transmitted it to those regions. Such an antiquity proves 
at any rate an inventive and exertive power of the Tura- 
nic or Altaic race. When the proud Indo-Grermans were 
shrouded in torpidity and savageness, the Chinese culti- 
vated the soil, the arts ; had various manufactures, had 
mental development ; the art of writing was familiar to 
them. The society of the ancient, as well as of the Eu- 
ropean world, was and is based on distinctions and privi- 
leges of castes ; was and is construed out of social super- 
positions. Slavery under various forms existed among all 
the nations. No traces of either of these evils exist in 
the Chinese social structure. Castes, privileges and skvery 


are still the great chains obstructing, impeding the free 
development of the Christian, as they did that of the an- 
cient world. The whole social history is the reproduction 
of the struggles and of the attempts of men to free them- 
selves from those troublesome deformities. The highest 
conception of social advancement not yet attained even in 
our epoch, is the recognition of the position of the indi« 
vidual in society, not according to inherited privileges and 
accidents of birth, but according to his individually ac* 
quired mental and scientific distinctions and accomplish- 
ments. On them, however, has depended social position 
in China for uncountable centuries^ and nowhere are to be 
found traces of existence of social, civil or military slavery. 
There are, to be sure, many black spots and deficiences in 
the Chinese social state and civilization— many wherein 
they are greatly inferior, but from the other side the 
above-mentioned phenomena throw many of our boasted 
superiorities into the shade. Knowledge, such as exists in 
China, is brought within the reach of the whole population ; 
and with all our facilities for printing and diffusing of 
letters, we are left far in the background by the Chinese, 
among whom for long centuries the habit of reading is as 
general among the masses as any other function of daily 
life. Books are at a price lower than the smallest alms. 
The whole Empire forms a leaf, covered with written sen- 
tences and axioms of their moralists. Schools accord- 
ingly existed there for the masses of the people at a pe- 
riod when European nations did not even dream of the 
availability of learning. Printing, that great engine of 
modern progress, was probably known to the Chinese 
when Harlem was a wilderness. The use of powder was 
undoubtedly brought to Europe from China. In India 
the education of the people through public schools, the 
universal knowledge of reading and writing, date back 



from a time -when neither of tliese accomplishments was 
thought of as a necessary element in the existence of the 
masses. They were not judged indispensable even in 
Grreece and Athens ; nor even for long centuries afterwards 
in Europe, where even now more than half of its popula- 
tion is wholly illiterate. The Mahometan conquest and the 
English dominion ruined the Hindoo people, destroyed 
schools, destroyed arts and industry. Oppression and the 
turn of human events enervated and debased these regions, 
and in every way exerted over them their baneful influ- 

The facts which constitute civilization, are scattered 
here and there over various regions and various nations. 
Times and circumstances are seemingly confounded. But 
there is a wonderful chain stretching over the course of 
centuries, enclosing the world and accommodating itself to 
the ebb and flow of human afi'airs. 

Many civilizing rays warmed Grreece, reaching there 
from the East, and to those the Grreeks and the Romans 
added again their own products. When the men of 
Northern -Europe made their appearance in history, they 
became initiated into a new life ; a light was at once 
transmitted to them, and however feeble were its morn- 
ing rays, they alone quickened the germ of modern civili- 
zation. The love of freedom, the attempts to establish 
society on great democratic foundations were neither the 
specialty of Grerman races, nor did they originate with 
them. Both were pre-existent in history ; they grew to 
maturity under the combined action of Christianity and 
human events; and the indestructible and eternal ele- 
ment in the essential destiny of man. 

Two races especially emerged out of the ruins of the 
Boman Empire and inherited its civilization. The one, 
the Celtic, was already partly interwoven with the Bo- 



man civilization, and had early received the Christian 
vivifying teaching. From the Celts emerged the Romanic 
nations, as they are now called. The other race, the Ger- 
man, broke forth furiously and savagely, and establishing 
itself upon the Roman ruins, extended a dark and heavy 
shroud over the dissolving fabric of society. The labor 
of centuries was required to reinvigorate its remaining and 
feebly smouldering sparks, which were again to warm and 
stimulate and fertilize the minds of the Northern barbarians. 
But as they are the last comers and actors, they proclaim 
themselves the originators and creators of all the good in 
modern civilization. Invoking the fallacious and super- 
ficial evidence of craniology and physiology, they assert 
that the comprehension of freedom and of equality was ex- 
clusively located in their brains. But history overthrows 
the condemnatory verdicts, and teaches that the fact was 
the reverse, and restores to their due share the disappeared, 
wasted and withered races and nations. 

Paleontology teaches that in the animal kingdom, gene- 
ra and families disappear after having fulfilled their time, 
or become transmuted and further developed in others, called 
more perfect. The so-called monsters of the antediluvial 
world were as perfect in the condition of their existence, 
as can be the actual living animals, created among differ- 
ent vegetations, a different state of the earth-crust, different 
combinations of air, gases, atmosphere, and the thereby 
stimulated productivity of the soil. Animals of the last 
creation, man included, would have been unable to live 
when our planet was in the Jurassic or even diluvial con- 
dition. The animals of every kind belonging to those by- 
gone epochs, were as perfect in their way as the conditions 
of life and existence required and allowed. An animal 
world disappeared in revolutions of the globe, revolutions 
covering it with new strata, and fostering new creations. 



The present animal kingdom is subject to the same abso- 
lute conditions, but modified or adapted to new combina- 
tions, appropriate and adapted to the so-called higher forms 
and functions. 

And so it is, in a higher philosophical appreciation^ 
with races, nations, and even individual families. Their 
work done, or transmitted to successors, they retire into 
the background, or even, — above all the so-called historical 
families — they die out. New ones succeed them in the 
ascension of an infinite spiral. During the periods of their 
vital activity those races, nations and individual families y 
answered fully to given and existing conditions, and in given 
epochs they constituted the acme of general life. For 
right and for wrong, even dynasties and families embodied, 
influenced and directed human events during long spaces 
of time. Now the race enters a new era. The actors of 
the past disappeared and disappear from the world's stage, 
in accordance with the same laws that ruled the disappear- 
ance of the animal creations of the antediluvian world. 

The aspirations for freedom, the struggles for social 
equality, and even for democratic organization, were fami- 
liar to other races as well as the Indo-European or Ger- 
mans, and fill the history of the past as they do that of 
the present. The Hebrews belonging to the Semitic or 
Aramaic stock, represent the most ancient republican and 
democratic society, with Jehovah for president, and judges 
for administrators. No social privilege or distinction pre- 
vailed among the tribes, excepting that one derived from 
religious functions, as in the tribe of Levi. Nowadays 
the Hebrews are held up as deprived of warlike courage 
and gallantry ; — ^but the times of the Maccabees elevate 
them to a level with the most glorious military deeds of 
any nation whatever; and the defence of Jerusalem 
against the Eomans remains unrivalled on the records of de- 



votion and patriotism. So events give character to men 
and nations. Modern pride cannot too often be reminded 
of the Hebrew origin and the humble condition of the 
teacher of love and humanity, and thus of its highest re- 
deemer. Love of liberty, heroism and civilization do not 
depend on the phrenological conformation of certain angular 
depressions in the cerebral cavity ; and the races who, to- 
day, direct the events of the world, shine in more than 
one respect in a lustre transmitted to them by preceding 

Greece and Athens will remain for eternity the bril- 
liant stars in the history of the mental and social devel- 
opment of men. The Greek mind does not yield to any 
other in power, boldness and depth; in many of its pro- 
ductions and conceptions it remains unrivalled ; and never- 
theless it borrowed many features of civilization from the 
East, and above all it borrowed therefrom that specula- 
tive philosophy, wherein consists one of its greatest splen- 

The Christian cardinal dogma of which many acknowl- 
edge the influence on the modern mental and ethical 
civilization ; an influence as powerful as the exclusively 
moral precepts taught by Christ himself; this dogma 
derives its essence from the conceptions of divinity pre- 
vailing in the East long centuries before Zoroaster's 
doctrine, which embodying the conceptions of a dis- 
tant epoch, in a purified form, marked the transition to 
Christian theology. This last emerged and received its 
complement from the holy fathers, those disciples of the 
New-Platonic, and essentially. Eastern philosophy. 

The claims of the German races to ' superiority, to 
having originated out of their individual and special es- 
sence a new culture, a new social idea, pregnant with the 
germs of a higher social maturity and development, and 



foreshadowing exclusively the actual tendencies, and aspi- 
rations of Europe, and the republican democratic organi- 
zation of this country — these claims contradict the eternal 
movement of history, and are not substantiated by her 

The G-erman destroyers of the Roman world gained 
dominion principally over the Celts in Gaul, Spain, and 
Italy. But first of all, those invaders, establishing them- 
selves in the regions which they had conquered, carried 
there a new political organization as a natural result of 
conquest ; but in the lapse of many centuries, they scarce- 
ly produced any effect on the prominent features of char- 
acter belonging to the conquered. 

The Frenchman of the last ten centuries, as well as 
of our own days, is the same as the C el to- Gaul, who, du- 
ring the first centuries of the Roman republic, promenaded 
from the Seine to Asia Minor, ravaged Italy and Borne 
under Brennus, and boasted that he was able to sustain 
on his spear the falling roof of heaven. Notwithstanding 
the admixtures of various G^erman races, as the Franks, 
Goths, Burgundians, Normans, the Gallo-G-erman-French- 
man, who sprang from the combination, did not lose his 
ancient bellicose and reckless propensities. Now, as of 
old, he plunges into a war for the sake of fighting for glory 
rather than for positive results. In the frozen solitudes 
of Russia, as recently under the walls of Sebastopol, the 
French have shown the ancient Gallic character. 

In the same way, the Spaniard of our days, notwith- 
standing the Gothic admixture, is the Celto-Iberian of the 
times of Carthaginian and Roman domination. The same 
terrible, cold contempt for his own life, as well as that of 
others, as described by Pomponius Trogus, was evinced 
in the murders of the inquisition at home, and in those 
perpetrated in the Netherlands ; it echoes from national 



habits in tragedies and songs, and the same character was 
finally delineated by Chateaubriand. Saragossa recalls the 
memory of Saguntum and Numantia, and the guerilla- 
warfare practised against Napoleon reminds us of Sertorius 
and his patriotic struggle against the Komans. 

Nearly all the German invaders left their footprints 
on Italy, some of them, as the Longobards especially, es- 
tablishing a domination for a couple of centuries. And still 
the Italian features, the Italian mind, the Italian charac- 
ter in all its variety, from the Alps to Tenarus, has not 
the slightest resemblance to that of the Germans. If, 
in some eminent features, the Italians of the Christian 
centuries differ from the ancient Romans, they neverthe- 
less have nothing in common with the Germans. The re- 
mains of these various invaders became quietly absorbed, 
overflowed, dissolved, decomposed by the powerful creative 
exuberance of the Italian soil. Circumstances, various 
events, variously acting, and a peculiar run of human affairs 
for about twelve centuries, shaped out the characteristics of 
the Italians. 

In their political organism and internal struggles, for 
twelve centuries the Italians proclaimed an insurmount- 
able repulsion to centralization, to becoming fused and con- 
densed in one single State. All the efforts of the Pa- 
pacy stranded against this innate repulsion, as now-a-days 
the efforts of devoted patriots strand equally against it. 
Only the iron grasp of ancient Rome subdued this centri- 
fugal proclivity of the various Italiots* tribes and munici- 
palities. But when once that iron band was broken, Italy 
burst asunder, returning almost naturally to the former 
state of decentralization — and thus at the distance of 

*' Italiots are called the inhabitants of ante-Roman ; Italians those 
of post Roman times. 



nearly twenty-five centuries, the social propensity of the 
ancient Italians is vigorously salient in modern Italy. 

• Imagination has surrounded the advent of the Ger- 
man races with an epic nimbus, but sound critical and 
philosophical appreciation destroys the assumed poetry, 
and dispels the charm. This is always the result of the 
cool application of science. Before it, disappear all -the 
fanciful images and adornments which poetry has created. 
Thus science has denuded nature of its mysterious poetical 
sounds and images. We now know too well what mate- 
rial causes produce the soft murmur of a brook. Even 
the nightingale in the handling of science, is nothing more 
than a mechanical instrument, and destitute of any ro- 
mantic feeling. So in the history of our race, science 
and sound sense destroy the phantasmagorical. Not 
that true poetry should be blotted out from our destinies. 
The life of our race is, was, and will for ever remain the 
most sublime epos. More truly so when it embraces hu- 
manity, than when it is limited and woven around the ac- 
cidents of one race, nation, and family. 

The various G-erman tribes emerged to daylight from 
the dark mist surrounding them, by virtue of the histori- 
cal law, which pushes onward on the scene, successive 
races and nations. According to widely-spread assertions, 
the Germans were predestined spiritually and physiologi- 
cally, by higher will and impulse, and by craniological 
construction, to become the true exponents of Christianity, 
to disenthral the world. A new culture, a new civiliza- 
tion, social and political freedom, elevating the mass of 
men to a higher and general level, or to true democracy : 
these were the gifts of which the Germans, to the exclusion 
of all others, have been the chosen bearers and agents from 
the moment of their first appearance on the stage. To 
be sure, these sa,vage invaders were incited by the passion* 


ate love of personal independence, breaking with impetu- 
ous ferocity the bounds of civilization which they encoun- 
tered. But this fierce sentiment of personal independence 
is not the germ or embryo of rational and social liberty ; 
it is common for the most part to all savages ; it is the 
state which approaches nearest to the condition of animals. 
The fiercest among them have the strongest passion for 
individual independence. Contrary moreover to the as- 
sertions of phrenological and craniological science, this 
sentiment is not even the result of a higher animal con- 
formation, or a superior volume of brain, as birds endowed 
with a less volume of brain than quadrupeds, have a 
more violent instinct of independence. Fishes, compara- 
tively brainless, are more indomitable. 

Not this savage sentiment of personal independence 
was pregnant with the social and mental freedom to which 
gravitates the human race, for which it works and toils. 
And if this should be the distinct mental specialty of the 
German race, in all its ramifications down to the past or 
to the modern Anglo-Saxons, raising them in this manner 
above other races and nations, their colaborers and com- 
petitors in the social arena, this specialty would rather 
class the Germans with a lower mental degree. Modern 
science ascribes to the Celtic race the desire for social 
equality. If this is the case, then in psychological appre- 
ciation the Celtic race would be the exponent of a higher 
social and mental endowment. Equality is of higher 
psychological origin than the merely animal craving for 
individual independence. Animals have not the feeling 
of equality, and the weaker keeps at a respectful distance 
and avoids crossing the path of the stronger. There is an 
end to individual independence. But a man relying on 
the equality of rights, raises his head boldly and proudly 
in the face of mere physical force and superiority. Events 



and history, sliow to the utmost, that social liberty and 
equality are fruits of association and culture ; that they 
were stimulated and developed by the run of human af- 
fairs — and began always to ferment among those nations, 
which possessed a comparatively higher culture and civili- 
zation. History shows sufficiently, that neither of these 
germs was brought, or exclusively developed, by any of 
the branches of the German race. 

Fui'ther, the ulterior fate of the Christian world, of the 
Christian creed, was secured by the northern invasion. 
But Christianity was already firmly rooted in humanity, 
otherwise it would not have resisted the furious attacks of 
those formidable pagan invaders. The spirit of Christi- 
anity as well as its dogmas was developed in its utmost 
plenitude and purity in the first centuries of its existence, 
and therefore by men of the southern and Semitic races. 
To them belong all the holy fathers, and the north has not 
augmented their number by a single name. Even Luther 
preached the return to the original principles of Christi- 
anity, the return to the so-called primitive church. The 
primitive Christians suffered martyrdom for mental or re- 
ligious, as well as for social emancipation. They suffered 
for not recognizing gods in the Roman Emperors before 
whom the whole world trembled, at whose bidding men 
with their own hands shortened their lives. Emperors 
were even more adored than gods. The poor Christian 
refusing to sacrifice to the Emperor, shook the Imperial 
structure at the basis, aimed a blow at the head of society, 
and thus committed a religious as well as a social revolt ; 
and so it was considered by those most interested in 
the preservation of the past, by the pagan Emperors, and 
by the pagan society. For them the Christians were 
religious and social subversionists. Those who publicly 
scorned this Imperial worship, on which reposed the social 



structure, who by tliousands and thousands were murdered 
for this act of revolt, were the first martyrs in the cause 
of liberty. German races have the smallest number of the 
like martyrs. The tribes who overran the Roman Empire, 
received the Christian teaching from Celts, Latins or 
Greeks ; and to those who remained on their primitive soil, 
Christianity was afterwards brought and preached prin- 
cipally by Celtic and Latin apostles. The German races 
produced the smallest number of such primitive mission- 
aries. But the German races, as soon as they asserted 
themselves in history, and began to participate in a more 
regulated way in the movement of events, were the first in 
the West who politically identified church and state, thus 
inaugurating the greatest aberration and adulteration of 
Christian or Catholic, and virtually spiritual organization. 
The German races, or kings, the Franks, the Carlo vin- 
gians, the Saxons gave fixity to the power of the Popes and 
submitted to it. They were its defenders. A German 
emperor, a Hohenstauifen, burnt the Italian Arnold of 
Brescia, who, in the 12th century, contested the temporal 
power of the popes. In one word, without the powerful 
aid of German races and sovereigns, papacy would not 
have taken such a firm hold of Europe at the very begin- 
ning of the middle ages. 

Born in rigorous climates, crowding on each other by 
their rapid increase, unacquainted with agriculture, or 
averse to it, and on these accounts obtaining with difficulty 
the means of subsistence, some of these German tribes saw 
before their eyes, others knew by report, the abundance 
and the luxuries of ample, well cultivated regions. They 
were at the same time urged on by extreme want, and 
strongly excited by the presence of plunder. Such were 
the reasons which, at the distance of several centuries be- 
fore, urged and attracted the German hordes of the Cymbri 



to Italy at the time of Marius, who, previous to the Cas- 
sarean wars, stimulated the Helvetians to abandon their 
Alpine hollows and peaks, and to descend upon the more 
cultivated Gaul. The German tribes pressed on each 
other, and the nearest to the boundaries of civilization 
were continually wedged in by the pressure of others. To 
repulse this pressure, Caesar was obliged to cross the Rhine, 
and the Roman emperors to push further and further into 
the interior of Germany the boundaries of the empire. 
Hence the mostly imaginary wrongs complained of by 
those savage tribes. The Franks who first invaded Gaul, 
penetrated into Spain before the epoch of general irruption ; 
they were bands of robbers united under a chief, leaving 
behind them all the family ties ; attracted, stimulated by 
the thirst of gold and wine, and going on a mission of 
bloody massacre and fierce destruction, as is the case with 
all the beasts of prey. After this attempt of the Franks, 
other savages for nearly three centuries invaded the em- 
pire; and gorged with plunder, they burned, ravaged, 
murdered, destroyed, for the sake of destruction and mas- 
sacre. There was no higher or better impulse in their 
breast than the fierce pleasure of playing amid the chances 
of the world and life with power and liberty ; at the ut- 
most the indulgence in the joys of activity without labor. 
Such was the romance which inspired those invaders. 
Thus out of murder and rapine emerged the present 
Europe, Out of individual hardships and toils, out of 
the sweat of the brow, expressed not in battling with 
civilization, but in breaking the virgin soil, and enkin- 
dling the light of culture, out of the labor of the first set- 
tlers along the Alantic shores^ emerged America, the land 
of promise, and the revelation of higher and broader 

The German invaders were the bearers of the corrup- 



tion, the vices, the crimes inherent in savage races. Rob- 
bery, murder, rape, theft, were practised on a large scale 
in the newly subdued lands, just as they were practised by 
and among them, in their primitive forests. When those 
conquerors established themselves in a fixed position, they 
began to collect the legal customs, or common laws, as 
they asserted, which prevailed among them of old, and 
they condensed these customs in written codes. Very nat- 
urally those codes re-echo what was observed by the Ger- 
man tribes in their primitive state, and they give an idea 
of their morals. The laws of the Francks, the Groths, the 
Burgundians, the Anglo-Saxons, and the other Grerman 
tribes, dwell principally on the above-mentioned crimes. 
Kobbery and similar offences are ever constant themes of 
the capitularies of Charlemagne. Among the Grermans, 
from remote times murder was atoned by a composition 
under the name of weregild, and paid by the murderer to 
the relatives of the murdered. This of course does not 
give an elevated idea of the feeling of individual honor 
and dignity which could have been satisfied with money or 
its equivalent. The ferocious vendeta as practised by 
other races, is less degrading, more natural in the men 
of primitive state, and shows more manliness and dignity. 
Civilization, Christianity have softened among us the 
feeling of revenge. We may forgive — but even the mean- 
est will not accept a composition for the blood of a parent, 
a brother, a sister or a child. 

This peculiar way of atonement used by the barba- 
rian Teutons previous to their irruption over the world, 
was not a result of weakness, as it does not prove theii* 
humanization. The comparative mildness with which 
crimes were punished, is the best proof of their frequency. 
When in a society, assassinations, mutilations, and other 
similar attempts are very rare, they are regarded with 



horror, and tlie perpetrators are severely punished. 
Where certain actions — in a society of whatever charac- 
ter — are considered as heinous offences, the legislator, 
the public opinion, expressed in common law or usage, 
will reverberate the public conscience. But when crimes 
are frequently committed, they insensibly lose their enor- 
mity ; not only those who commit them, but the society — 
whatever it may be — becomes accustomed to them, and 
bears them with indulgence. 

Such were the Grerman races when history began to 
throw light upon their doings, and such they must have 
been for centuries before, — in the times of Tacitus. His 
enthusiasm for them was the counterpart of his manly 
indignation at the effeminacy of Rome. He embellishes 
them purposely. He contrasted with Kome the savage 
Germans, by whose bravery he was dazzled, and with whose 
usages and domestic life he was not and could not have 
been as thoroughly acquainted as we imagine. Sidonius, 
who lived among them after they had already been for a 
long time under the soothing influence of Christianity, 
exclaims : " Happy the eyes who do not see them, happy 
the ears who do not hear," Very likely Tacitus exalted 
the Germans for the same reasons which incited Rousseau, 
St. Pierre and others, to endow the fancied primitive man 
Vhomme de la nature, with all moral perfections. The 
fierce, treacherous and thieving Indian, who abhors every 
kind of culture and civilization, was held up as a model 
of purity and simplicity not only by sentimentalists, but 
by minds as positive and clear-sighted as that of Jefferson. 
And even according to the testimony of the enthusiastic 
Roman, the Germans, like the Indians, were more fond 
of plunder than of labor, and he likewise mentions some 
tribes that were subjected to the most debasing despo- 



The husband and father among the Germans had as abso- 
lute dominion over the wife, the daughter, and the son, as 
he had among the Eomans. He had the power of life and 
death over his family, and could sell them. By the common 
law and usages of England, the Anglo-Saxon right to such 
a traffic still exists, or has only lataly been erased. The 
German wife espoused the quarrels of the husband, fought 
at his side ; so did the Gallic, the Celto-Iberian women — 
precisely as in given circumstances, the same acts of devo- 
tion have been shown on all parts of the globe. The chas- 
tity of the German woman, and the fidelity of the man, 
which Tacitus so highly extolled, clash singularly with 
the above-named tenor of the laws derived from usage ; and 
at any rate they must have disappeared very soon, and 
gone the way of all flesh. Monogamy was not absolute 
in the German forests. C^sar says that Arivistus had 
two wives, and Tacitus speaks of other Germans who had 
them also. Beyond romance there exist no proofs in 
the German customs and manners, to justify the assumed 
assertion that the position of the woman was elevated by 
them to its natural purity and virtue. The Germans 
did not surround woman with the reverence due to her 
purer devotion. The women of the Germans were domes- 
tic slaves, performing the hard field or garden labor, as 
they do still in Germany, and as is still customary among 
all savages, as well as among Christian nations of a lower 
degree of civilization. In this respect, material progress 
and labor-saving inventions will alone fully emancipate 
woman and restore them to softer functions. The Ger- 
man women, wife, and daughters, had no civil rights, no 
property. The Eoman daughters had a dowry ; their 
rights in this respect were under the guarantee and the 
guardianship of the law. The German husband could 
punish publicly or privately, with the utmost severity, 



even by death, the infidelity of the wife ; but among the 
Grermans, as among all past and present nations, the wife 
has no rights and no legal method to punish the infidelity 
of the husband. Whatever might have been the degra- 
dation of the woman in antiquity ; the mother, the true 
matron, was honored and respected. Xenophon's Econo- 
mics bears testimony that it was so in Greece. The 
matrons of the better centuries of Rome were surrounded 
with respect and deference by the usages and the laws ; 
and these matrons are among the loftiest adornments of 
Koman history. 

The chaste and pure priestesses of Ceres in Athens 
enjoyed an elevated social standing : and in the privileges 
which surrounded the consecrated Roman Vestals, the 
highest worship was paid to chastity, even by a society in 
which the comprehension of morals did not extend to 
sexual passions. Among the Slavi, women were honored 
in the remotest times, in those of their ante-historical ex- 
istence. Monogamy prevailed in their usages, the women 
stood in high consideration, and exercised great influence. 
This fact is alluded to so far back as Nicolas Damascenus, 
a friend of King Herod. 

The most sublime phenomenon of our civilization, the 
purification, ennoblement and elevation of woman, is alto- 
gether the work of Christianity. Christianity taught 
man that woman ought not to be his slave, but his equal, 
his companion. The atrocious right of life and death 
was destroyed. Christian charity purified the manners, 
and thus elevated woman, whose dignity is incompatible 
with corruption and licentiousness. Christianity is the 
source whence this powerful, salutary, and generous influ- 
ence emanated. This is the origin of the dignity and 
honor of woman in Europe. Women were the most ar- 
dent and devoted apostles of Christianity among the bar- 



barians. The sacred ties of marriage united tlie barbarian to 
the Christian woman. Thus Clotilde Christianized the 
fierce Clodwig or Clovis and his Franks ; Dombrowka 
brought Christianity to the Poles ; Olga and Helen to the 
Russians, and the same way of propagation prevailed among 
nearly all the various Northern tribes. 

The Southern nations invaded by the Teutons, were 
already Christian. Thus woman was already purified and 
honored among the nations of Celtic, Latin or Romanic 
descent. From them the Grermans received the initiation 
into the purer and loftier appreciation of woman in domes- 
tic and in social life. Chivalry found woman for centu- 
ries purified, raised, surrounded with veneration. It sur- 
rounded the womanly charm with inspiring illusions, with 
passionate, religious gallantry and devotion. And the 
poetical source of the legends of chivalry lies not among 
the G-ermans — still less among the Moors of Spain, whose 
houris are the opposite of Christian virgins and unblem- 
ished wives — ^but among Celtic Britons.* The most violent, 
ungovernable and reckless passions, in their most unsocial 
manifestations, prevailed among the Germans in their for- 
ests, as well as when by their victories over other coun- 
tries, they found themselves in a new situation. If they 
were bearers of new germs, those germs were of such a 
kind as to stifle society in its cradle ; and this they did in 
reality and for centuries. The Germans in their forests 
not only made slaves of their prisoners of war, as did all 
the nations of antiquity, but often gambled themselves 
into slavery. All the vices and crimes that form the spe- 
cial characteristics of a savage state of society, were com- 
mon to the various German tribes, who under various 

* Arthtir, Launcelot, and the whole legcud of the Round Table 
belong to Brittany. 




names, one after another, or at times simultaneously, for 
centuries poured into the Roman empire. Destruction 
was the watchword for all. The differences of caste and 
of class, nobles and villains, which (according to the testi- 
mony of Caesar and Tacitus) existed among them in their 
forests, were brought to the countries which they subdued. 
The ancient nobles, chieftains and princes, being for the 
most part the leaders of the invaders on the battle field 
as well as in the division of the conquered lands ; those 
military distinctions soon acquired even a new and stronger 
fixity than they had in the original German countries. No- 
where, not in a single case, are to be detected among these 
tribes, the germs or notions of social equality. " Legiti- 
macy of royal races among European nations is a Ger- 
manic idea," says Eanke ; and so was that of the mili- 
tary nobility, which had been partly already brought from 
the German forests, and partly sprouted out from the new 
social conditions, into which the conquest over men, soil, 
cities and vast uncultivated lands, had put the conquerors. 

The Goths overran the greatest part of the E-oman 
empire. They broke in, East and West, and finally took 
possession of some of the most beautiful portions, as Ita- 
ly, the South of France, and Spain. It is believed that 
their domination extended previously from Scandinavia to 
the Danube, at least under Hermanric, one of their great- 
est leaders. Others pretend that the Goths are not of a 
German stock, but are the direct descendants of the an- 
cient classical Getas. This doubt is based on the histori- 
cal fact, that the Goths alone among the German races, 
did not compound for murder by a fine or weregild. At 
any rate they are now counted among Germans, who re- 
ceived from them a written language, in the translation of 
the Scriptures, by Ulfila, a Gothic bishop. They received 
architecture, moreover, and many rudiments of refine- 



ment, which the Goths themselves learned from the Ro- 
manic nations which they subdued. The Groths entered 
the civilized regions under the leadership of their royal 
races, of the Amali and the Balti, and both, according to 
their national creed, of superior half godlike origin. The 
Gothic nation was divided by various social privileges • 
they had the Cajpellet% or long-haired, and the Pilefori^ 
distinguished by wearing caps in the presence of the King 
and at the divine sacrifices. To wear long hair was a 
kingly and nobiliar distinction among other German tribes. 
The Pilefori formed a supreme theo-aristocratical class, 
and had the power to elect a king or a reigning dynasty. 
When the Goths became Christians of the Arian creed, the 
privileged class of the Pilefori perpetuated itself, absorb- 
ing in its members the dignity of bishops. The same was 
the case when they subsequently melted into Romanism 
under the reign of King Recarede. This is the origin of 
the great power and influence of the Westgothic Bish- 
ops, as shown in Toulouse, and above all in Spain during 
the Westgothic rule. The celebrated councils of Toledo, 
held by Gothic bishops, legislated for the kingdoms ; by 
the decree of bishops, King Yamba was dethroned. 
Montesquieu as well as Guizot, was puzzled to find the 
origin and the cause of this power exercised by the 
Gothic or Spanish bishops ; as no other Roman Catholic 
nation at that time submitted to the power of the clergy 
to that extent. The source of the power was in the an- 
cient caste of the Gothic Pilefori ; as therefrom likewise 
comes the right of the Spanish Grandees to remain with 
their heads covered in the presence of their sovereign. 

Social gradations and nobiliar privileges, partly as 
the perpetuation of their primitive social state, partly 
deriving their strength from the nature of such a military 
establishment, as was in its origin and beginning the Ger- 



man conquest ; these were implanted and extended over 
Western Europe by the Grermans. Therein was the origin 
of feudality, — an organization natural to all nations con- 
quering and extending under the leadership of chiefs and 
dynasties. Thus at the dawn of history, when the Iranic 
or Arrian races made an irruption over the ancient world, 
encompassed in the then known circle embracing Asia 
from the Indus to the Mediterranean, a part of Greece, and 
Egypt ; this immense Empire was for several centuries of 
its existence propped up on feudal dynasts or magnates. 
Out of those feudal dynasts were the Median, Bactrian, 
Afghan princes, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and Cyrus 
himself. Darius Hystaspes put an end to this ancient 
Eastern feudal regime, which was reproduced after long 
centuries in the West, and evoked by similar causes, by 
the current of affairs and events, similar to each other, at 
least, in their general outlines. None of the above charac- 
teristics of the Grerman conquerors could in any way have 
been pregnant exclusively with democratic germs. 

Old Cato spoke of Greece as " mendax in historia." 
Niebuhr, Arnold, and many modern writers on Roman 
history, show to what an extent it is necessary to be dis- 
trustful of Boman historians and annalists. Grote, who, 
of all historians, has rendered the most eminent services to 
the comprehension of the beneficial workings of the dem- 
ocratic principle ; Grote has shown how prejudiced, par- 
tial, and unjust in several respects to. their country, to 
their eminent men have been the Greek writers, full often 
from a heinous spirit of party. All these short-comings 
are fully reproduced by German writers. Notwithstand- 
ing their unequalled erudition, as soon as in any way 
it concerns Germanism, the spirit of historical justice 
vanishes ; their judgment is overclouded. History, facts, 
and events are twisted and forcibly wedged into a precon- 



certed scheme. By such a process, the invading Grerman 
races were surrounded by a poetical halo, and endowed 
with all the highest social characteristics. What events, 
circumstances, affections, passions, relations, contact with 
other nations, and with their different modes of life 
brought forth, — what the Germans received or learned 
from others, — all this was absorbed in behalf of the Grer- 
man race in comparison with all others. And thus modern 
civilization, with all its social and mental manifestations 
and variations, was to be exclusively the work of the 
German world. 

The influence of human affairs on social development, 
— as well as the fallacy of distributing the highest human 
attributes according to races, or to physiological, and crani- 
ological conformations, is most strikingly elucidated by 
throwing a rapid glance on the Slavic neighbors of the 
Germans, and from whom the latter at the commencement 
of their historical existence, learned several rudiments of 
cultivation, and among them the plan of communal organ- 

It can be said, that from the remotest times, the tribes 
known in history under the name of the Slavic race, occu- 
pied the same portions of continental Europe in which 
they now dwell. They were undoubtedly the first agri- 
culturists in the North, between the Rhine and the Yolga. 
Although savages and barbarians similar to the primitive 
Germans or Celts, the Slavi early attached themselves to 
the soil ; no traces of nomadic or roaming life are to be 
detected among them. The dawn of history finds them 
living in villages as agriculturists, under simple com- 
munal institutions, with elective chiefs, and judges, or 
administrators. A special fact elucidates their social 
usages ; in those remote times the Slavi alone among all 
nations recorded in history — the Chinese excepted — never 



traDsformed their prisoners into slaves, but after one 
year's detention allowed them to return to their own coun- 
try. The enslaving of conquered enemies began among 
the whole race only in Russia, and this very likely with 
the establishment of the Romans or Variagues. Subse- 
quently, certain human events, which it is not necessary 
to enumerate here, created slavery and serfdom, nobility 
and princes among the various Slavic tribes, — and G-erman 
example, German influence, can be counted among the 
foremost. And now, serfdom on an enormous scale still 
exists among the Slavi ; serfdom strengthened by circum- 
stances and by events, it crushes down a branch of the 
human family ; the only one which, in the cradle, was 
free from this social curse. 

In the course of centuries, by wars, conquests, and 
German migrations, the Slavi became involved, mixed 
with the neighboring Germans, and Slavic sprouts ex- 
tended in different directions into Germany. Thus in 
various ways they taught the Germans agriculture and 
horticulture, previous to the introduction of Christianity 
into the German forests. They introduced into Germany 
the culture of rye, which was unknown before to such 
an extent to the Germans, that Charlemagne in one of his 
capitularies especially enjoins its culture upon his Ger- 
man subjects. The Slavic tribes extending along the Bal- 
tic shores were daring navigators. According to the Chron- 
icler Saxo Grammaticus, and the historian Sismondi, they 
united in the predatory excursions into Britain and Gaul 
with the Angles and Saxons, and with the Danes. And when 
the communal and municipal organization, suppressed by 
the German rule, began again to give signs of life in the 
south of Europe in the eleventh century, according to the 
authoritative testimony of the erudite and truthful Mura- 
tori, it was in the Slavi city of Bagusa among the Slavic 



Dalmatians that took place the first municipal elections, 
as recorded by history. Circumstances, to a great extent, 
destroyed the communal and municipal as well as the other 
liberties among the Slavi, as circumstances evoked them 
from smouldering ashes, gave them life, virtuality, and 
force among the other contemporary nations. 

Where the Germans permanently established their 
dominion, they also in various ways established servitude, 
serfdom, and slavery among the conquered, including the 
burghers, the rural populations, the artisans and the 
laborers. They themselves despised every kind of peace- 
ful occupation. Neither industry nor agriculture had any 
attraction for them. All this was abandoned to the indi- 
gent. In Italy, Spain, France, and Britain, the conquerors, 
spreading over the lands, settled not in cities, but outside 
of the walls, erecting strongholds and castles, or burghs. 
They divided the whole land into cities and populations 
according to certain tenures, which, in their various appli- 
cations, constituted the feudal system. The cities, the 
trades paid revenues to the new lords, the lands were 
tilled by aborigines, of Celto-Romanic descent. In the 
course of time, the descendants of the common soldiery 
among the conquerors, whose services were rewarded with 
the smaller lots or freeholds, became impoverished ; then 
willingly or by force they were turned by the mightier 
knights and barons into rustics, and became subject to 
predial servitude equally with the natives. Others among 
them retired to cities, and increased there the number of 
laborers and workingmen, still remaining dependent on 
the lords. But this kind of influx into the cities could 
not influence or modify the character of the natives, who 
were far more numerous. The question therefore of the 
rekindling of culture after the terrible night which contin- 
ued through centuries of invasion, the question of the first 



efforts for disenthralment and emancipation from tho ty- 
ranny exercised by the feudal nobility, those questions are 
still pending between the Celto-Komanic and the Germans. 
In Germany proper, serfdom, oppression, and slavery were 
established, not by conquerors over the conquered of dif- 
ferent origin, but over a people of the same blood. This 
was principally done after the example of what was pre- 
viously consummated on the ruins of the ancient Empire. 
Germany proper was the last in turn to receive feudalism ; 
she was last in turn in the effort for disenthralment, last 
in turn in enkindling civilization. For every thing, Ger- 
many, for centuries, went to school to Italy and France. 

Throughout the whole extent of the ruins of the Ro- 
man Empire, the half burnt and desolated cities were peo- 
pled by the remains of the ancient inhabitants. After the 
frightful confusion of centuries began to subside, the cities 
little by little began to recover ; industry gave feeble signs 
of vitality ; and for its products as well as for money the 
inhabitants were enabled to buy from their masters, if not 
a recognition of rights, at least some «mall temporary 
liberalities or concessions. In the cities and among the 
natives were preserved the feeble traditions of previous 
municipal rights, the almost expiring sparks of once flour- 
ishing cultivation. What Savigny has proved and firmly 
established concerning the Homan law, can with safety be 
applied to the preservation and continuation of the over- 
thrown civilization. If the Koman law was never wholly 
suppressed, nor ever disappeared from use in the darkest and 
most confused times ; in the same way there was nowhere 
a total suppression and extinction of ancient civilization. 
This feeble spark was preserved of course, and not by the 
brute, unlettered, savage conquerors, but by the natives. 
The clergy, moreover, a powerful and softening agency, 
formed a connecting link between the old and new ele- 



ments of society, and the clergy belonged principally to 
the Celto-Romanic race. 

During the early part of the mediaeval epoch the 
darkness was the thickest, the confusion the greatest; 
right and light were downtrodden, suppressed ; arbitrari- 
ness and recklessness were the general rule. The Ger- 
man races alone were the exponents of the state of society 
as well as its exclusive leaders. Only the clerical robe 
enjoyed some immunity and respect, and was sheltered 
from outrages. But even this was often a feeble, insuf- 
ficient shield. It was, however, natural, that, feeble as 
this protection was, individuals among the oppressed na- 
tives should seek quiet and refuge under it. Thus the 
monasteries became the exclusive asylum of such remains 
of the ancient mental and material culture as could be pre- 
served from total extinction. In the monasteries, there- 
fore, not only letters were preserved, but the rudiments, or 
rather the remains of arts and industry ; and even the 
culture of the soil. The arts of healing, of architecture, 
with all their belongings, were then almost the exclusive 
possession of the clergy and the monks. Those belonged 
every where to the conquered Celto-Romanic race. 

Feudality soon invaded the Church ; the abbeys became 
rich in aristocratical feoffs and investitures ; the conquer- 
ors began to enter the orders, and the abbots were se- 
lected from among the privileged, noble Grerman class. 
The chronicles of most of the monasteries mention violent 
and often deadly strifes between the monks and the ab- 
bots; strifes originating generally in the difference of 
blood and descent. 

Through such a state of things — through such a bloody 
mire — was society dragged for centuries by the Glermans. 
Traffic and commercial intercourse, that elastic, indestruc- 
tible agency of humanization ; that stimulus to industry, 



and the consequent to peaceful and orderly occupation and 
activity of intellect and of mind, was preserved, and car- 
ried on by the natives alone. Orderly activity, that 
all-embracing hearth of civilization, manifested itself ex- 
clusively at first among the Celto-Romanic inhabitants of 
cities, where the German element either did not exist at 
all, or was mixed in a comparatively imperceptible pro- 
portion. The Grerman, still clad in steel, was familiar only 
with the use of the sword and of the battle-axe : — even the 
poorest one among them, who tilled his own freeholds, 
considered mental, industrial, and commercial pursuits, as 
unmanly and mean. 

During this whole terrible and protracted epoch, the 
Eastern or Grreek Empire was the seat where culture, arts, 
industry, trade, studies, refinement existed, and compara- 
tively flourished; parts of Italy recognized the supremacy of 
Byzantium, and maintained an uninterrupted intercourse 
with the then capital of the civilized world. This inter- 
course contributed to a great extent to preserve in Italy 
the smouldering sparks of culture. By the combination 
of those various tutelary and nursing agencies, these sparks 
were kindled, light began to dawn, to spread, to radiate. 
Slowly strengthening and increasing these remains of an- 
cient culture, in Italy, in Spain, in the south of France, on 
the Loire and Seine, along the Khine, every where among 
the cities it successively embraced, warmed the Celto or 
Grallo-G-erman regions of the North, and was forwarded to 
Germany itself. Generally the German rulers, especially 
after Charlemagne, as soon as they began to comprehend 
the benefits of culture, erected cities which served either 
as so many asylums for the natives, or as centres for the 
slowly-reviving industry and commerce. In this slow- 
paced march towards the North, one country and city 
transmitted culture, vitalized the other. 



As soon as prosperity began to give vitality and 
strength to the cities, the spirit of independence began to 
revive, and the cities began to strive against the tyranny 
and oppression exercised by the surrounding lords and 
barons. The first raising of cities was made in Italy, and 
in Italy the municipal and communal institutions then be- 
gan to be recalled into life. The Italian cities began to 
be emancipated before the time of the crusades, at which 
time they already formed independent corporations and 
municipalities, some quickly transforming themselves even 
into powerful sovereign States. Yenice alone survived 
the terrible conflagration caused for centuries by the ir- 
ruption of the barbarians, alone preserved independence 
and liberty. Yenice, the asylum for the martyred and 
conquered race, Yenice, which never recognized the con- 
querors as masters, might have been a powerful stimu- 
lant for the other Italian cities to imitate her example. 
In the tenth and eleventh centuries, the cities of Lom- 
bardy, of Liguria, of Tuscany, began successively to 
break the yoke of the feudal barons. Uniting sometimes 
with the rural populations, they attacked the frowning 
nests and abodes of the nobles, by which they were sur- 
rounded, took or destroyed them, and forced the nobles 
to settle within the walls of the cities, to submit to com- 
mon rule. Thus the nobles or descendants of the Ger- 
mans came within the action of civilization, and began 
to be warmed by it. Moved by similar reasons, the 
French and Walloon cities afterwards took the same 
course, and the last in this work of disenthralment were 
the cities in Germany. Thus the first move for disen- 
thralment was made in Celto-Romanic lands, the first fee- 
ble cry for social liberty was uttered by Celto-Komanic 

This struggle of cities or of the middle classes, first 



against nobility and then against royalty, extended to our 
own time. It had various manifestations and forms — at 
times violent, then under some cover of legality. Thus it 
was sometimes carried for the preservation of certain privi- 
leges ; finally it was carried by legists, and was called 
then a parliamentary one. It played an eminent part in 
the history of liberty, and for centuries its principal lead- 
ers on the continent were France and Flanders. During 
its continuation, the influence of cities or of the bour- 
geoisie steadily increased, until it became almost omnipo- 
tent in the great French revolution of 1789, as the mass 
of the people had their turn in 1792-93. Although, in 
the course of time, the combination of various events and 
afi"airs gave moral and material fuel to the contest, it can, 
nevertheless, be considered as an uninterrupted effort of 
the descendants of Celto-Romanie stock, against the de- 
scendants of German conquerors. The burghers, as a 
class or as individuals, were continually recruited in 
France, as every where else, from among the rural popu- 
lation;- and thus was sustained uninterrupted and almost 
unadulterated the primitive distinction of blood between 
the privileged oppressor and the oppressed. 

Hand in hand with the attempts at liberation from the 
petty tyrants, with the revival of industry and of com- 
merce, hand in hand and in the same regions began the 
dim revival of mental culture. The cities and their in- 
habitants, the burghers, were its agents, its disciples. 
This revival at first took place in Italy and in France. 
Aside from the clergy and the monks, the middle classes 
alone, rarely the peasantry, furnished scholars, teachers 
and disciples. From them were the professors of various 
sciences, the philosophers, the theologians, the jurists and 
lawyers, and the physicians. All these pursuits and pro- 
fessions were despised for centuries by the conquerors, 



those ancestors of the nobility. Originally the clergy 
served them as amanuenses, and thence is derived the ap- 
pellation of a clerk for inferior officials, doing the harder 
mental and written work. For ages following the con- 
quest, the nobility throughout all Europe showed the 
same aversion to mental pursuits. Those who did other- 
wise were exceptions. It is on account of this ignorance 
of the nobles, for centuries the rulers and administrators 
of society, that the jurists and lawyers, who all belonged 
to the middle classes, acquired thus early a prepondera- 
ting influence in the administration of the affairs of state 
and of justice. In France the nobles formed the judicial 
courts. There they judged and decided about various 
matters between themselves and the natives. Charle- 
magne principally organized such courts of the Reichem- 
bourgi. The same custom prevailed among the Longo- 
bards in Italy, and the Anglo-Saxon conquerors of Brit- 
tain. But the ignorant nobles were obliged to have their 
amanuenses at their side. Originally those clerks were 
seated in courts each at the feet of their master. By slow 
degrees their significance and influence increased ; the no- 
bles were glad to throw on them the burden of afi'airs ; 
the clerks became permanent judges. Thus originated 
the gentlemen of the long robe, and in France the cele- 
brated provincial court of parliam'ent. Early in the sec- 
ond part of the middle ages France stood at the side of 
Italy, and was foremost in the orbit of civilization, as it 
then existed. Not the French, not the Spanish or Ital- 
ian nobility, nor the German, was instrumental in this slow 
and difficult dispersion of darkness and of ignorance. 
Every where the nobility kept aloof from the burgher 
class. For long centuries intermarriage with burghers 
was considered dishonorable, was considered as contami- 
nation of the purity of blood. In Spain until the time 



of King Riceswindus, any intermarriage of a Goth with a 
native was punished with death ; this prejudice was per- 
petuated there as by all the nobles of Europe, and trans- 
formed into a horror of mixing with burgher or ignoble 
blood. Thus when the most difficult, because the first 
steps in the road of culture were made, the nobility no- 
where participated in them either as a class, or through 
the mixture of blood ; and the palm for having nursed the 
feeble sparks of culture throughout Western and South- 
ern Europe, beloDgs wholly to the lower or not noble 
classes, that is, to the descendants of Celto-Romans. Un- 
doubtedly intermarriages between conqueror and conquered 
were contracted, and this might have been the case even 
to a large extent in Italy and France as well as in Britain. 
But according to the usual process where social distinc- 
tions prevail, it was the man from the superior position 
who married a woman from the inferior one, and very sel- 
dom the reverse took place. The children of such mar- 
riages followed the condition of the father, enjoyed all his 
privileges and shared all his prejudices. In Italy, when 
the cities forced the nobles to live within the walls, they 
thus brought them within the focus of civilization, and 
bestowed upon them the possibility of warming themselves 
at its vivifying fire. The nobleman could receive tuition 
in schools, could follow the labor of professors, for the 
reason that the Italian nobles were the first in Europe 
who became polished and distinguished by superior men- 
tal accomplishments. But every where else the nobility 
lived as it does now in castles and burghs, and for a pro- 
tracted period, for centuries, nourished the old prejudices 
of their ancestry, the conquerors, against light and cul- 
ture. Not with them were filled the halls of professors 
and of universities when those were created. Not nobles 
were professors, nor to any considerable extent were they 



pupils in the first period after the establishment of the 
University of Paris, that Alma Mater of all the universi- 
ties north of the Alps. This was entirely filled, used and 
profited by burghers, those direct descendants of the con- 
quered natives. 

The G-ermans in Germany received the initiation from 
Italy and France. Coming last in turn, they afterwards 
penetrated into some parts of the domain of mind and of 
knowledge to a greater depth than their previous masters. 
But it was not the Germans that enkindled the culture of 
Christian or modern Europe, nor the Germans that were 
the first to strike for freedom and break down tyranny. 
Therefore not from the Germans exclusively did the post- 
Roman or Christian world receive its higher and purer 

Circumstances and events aroused the Celto-Komanic 
nation to action far previous to the Germans, either 
Franks, Saxons, Anglo-Saxons, or any other branch of the 
great stock. 

Events alone transformed the Germans as conquerors 
into oppressors, and the conquered into oppressed. Thus 
what in history is called the darkest epoch of the middle 
ages, was exclusively the work of the German race. It 
extended an iron net over the whole Christian Western 
world. The knights and nobles were independent of any 
superior overmastering power, they lawlessly carried out 
their arbitrary will. Italy, G-ermany, above all, France, 
were transformed into nearly as many independent suze- 
rainties as there were nobiliar families, strongholds and 
castles. The sovereigns were impotent and poor, nearly 
deprived of power, without revenues, and leaning willingly 
on the cities, who proffered them money and means to curb 
the reckless feudality. The movement for emancipation 
on the continent of Europe was however not at all demo- 



cratic in its nature. The paramount question then was, to 
secure the nearest available good, and to get a respite from 
the immediate oppressor. The royal power was a more sure 
support than could possibly be obtained from the people at 
large, the rural masses, enslaved by the nobles. The 
primitive movement for emancipation in Europe, England 
included, had nowhere the broad democratic character of 
securing rights to all ; this era was inaugurated by the 
American revolution. The European cities tried to ob- 
tain and secure privileges. These privileges in themselves 
were deductions from eternal principles, but at that time 
the principles were only dimly comprehended and by a few 
persons, and not positively asserted. The question was 
to obtain security and guarantees, and any one was wel- 
come who could procure and defend them. In this man- 
ner originated on the continent a kind of understanding 
between royalty and the cities, and the burgher classes 
were thorough monarchists. The legists who issued from 
the middle classes, finding in the Roman law a forest of 
axioms in favor of the absolute will of the sovereign, be- 
came its violent and decided partisans. Stimulated by ha* 
tred of the nobility, from the middle classes issued the 
boldest supporters of absolute authority. These, and the 
like events, were arbitrarily construed in proof of the 
love of absolute power by the Romanic nations. But no- 
where for centuries did the German races show any decid- 
ed or exclusive tendency, or move in a democratic direc- 
tion; nowhere is to be detected, among them a recognition 
of the pure democratic principle. Events subsequently 
disengaged and extricated the principle from the meshes 
wherein it was entangled ; events to whose development 
contributed proportionally the G-ermans, as well as the 
Celtic, Gallic and Romanic descendants. 

When ideas find their way into the world and become 



facts, tliey are modified by external circumstances, "by spe- 
cial relations corresponding to the mental and political 
state of society. Their availability and the ease of their 
extension depend upon the state of society, upon the de- 
mands, the aspirations, and the readiness to accept the new 
comer. For this reason ideas, longings and needs, more 
or less generally felt, were often suddenly seized, at the 
most propitious time, appropriated and embodied by a spe- 
cial nation rather than a race, which was in a more favora- 
ble condition for the new task or mission. 

In the course of ages Romanism became all-powerful, 
oppressive, endangering the destinies, the mental and politi- 
cal progress of the European, or Christian Western world. 
Society in its mental life as well as in its political govern- 
ment and civil relations, was to be detached forcibly from 
the Vatican for the sake of preservation. In various ways 
Europe longed for emancipation, for freedom of worship 
or of conscience, for separation of church and state, or for 
giving to every church a national organization independent 
of Home. Previous to the 16th century, the papal tem- 
poral power had as many friends as violent enemies in It- 
aly. Arnold of Brescia, mentioned before, was one of 
the martyrs of this idea. The small Celto-Komanic tribe 
of the Albigenses and Waldenses never submitted to the 
Roman papal spiritual power, and the wholesale murders 
of these populations, carried out by fanaticized Franks, 
directed, sanctioned by popes, saints, bishops, and by all 
kinds and degrees of the priesthood, will for ever remain 
in history as the true exponents of Romanism. The Bo- 
hemians, the Moravians, all of Slavic stem, fought and 
suffered for the independence of teaching, and the free 
construction of the Gospel, as proclaimed by Huss. They 
extorted from the papacy and from the imperial power, 
which was subservient to it, the right to administer the 



Lord's Supper in both kinds, before the Eeformation firmly 
established this order of worship. Even the celebrated 
Thkty Years' War, which established Protestantism on 
fixed foundations in Germany, was started not by G-er- 
mans, but by the Bohemians. 

Thus in difi"erent lands and at difi"erent times, the idea 
of emancipation from Rome burst out and kindled into 
a .flame. It was, however, suppressed previous to the 
apparition of Luther.* The time for its easier expan- 
sion approached, and the soil was moved by the previous 
mental as well as positive attempts. The reform of the 
16th century was in all minds. Luther applied the spark 
to the mine. He embodied the general longings that were 
confusedly felt. The religious reform may justly be con- 
sidered as having contained within its womb all the sub- 
sequent reforms and revolutions of Europe, as having pro- 
duced or facilitated not only the religious and mental, but 
likewise the social and political emancipation of society. 
But as to Luther himself and his immediate supporters, 
friends and disciples, it can be said that all of them were 
the decided enemies of political reform ; they did not wish 
to touch in the slightest way the social and political or- 
ganism. Luther's sole idea was to put an end to the 
power of Borne over the dogmas, the worship, and the or- 
ganization of the church ; to emancipate the individual 
reason in aff"airs of conscience. Otherwise he was wholly 
devoted to the existing organization of society, to the 
power of sovereigns or princes. There was no more 
stanch supporter of the absolute, nay, the divine power 

* About the year in which Luther was horn, died in Switzerland 
a fugitive Dalmatic hishop, who was pitilessly persecuted by Rome, 
for proclaiming the necessity of the same reforms which afterwards 
were preached by Luther. See in Joh. v. Miiller's History of Switz- 



of the emperor than Luther, even to the extent of not op- 
posing his authority even if he used violence against the 
Protestants. When Francis Lambert, a Frenchman, at- 
tempted to instil into the reformation a revolutionary and 
democratic spirit, Luther strenuously opposed it. The 
German peasantry, galled to the quick by the reckless and 
arbitrary oppression of the nobles, embraced in their minds 
the union of the two reforms, the religious and the politi- 
cal, but they found in Luther the most bitter and decided 

It must not pass unobserved, that the rising of the 
German peasants against the nobles, was far posterior in 
date to the French Jacqueries, and to the war against the 
nobility, or the battle of spurs in Flanders ; occurrences 
in which the original Celto-Gauls attempted to break down 
the yoke under which they suffered. All those insurrec- 
tions of the people in France, in Germany, as well as that 
of the Kentish boors, prove that similar reasons and 
causes produce similar results in this or that race, nation, 
or form of government. 

Luther and most of the Lutherans were not moved by 
the grievances and the projected reforms of the Saxon and 
Franconian rustics, who in a short but brilliant strife, for 
a moment forced princes and nobles to accept and sign the 
submitted reform. Four centuries back those simple men, 
those genuine democrats, put the German question on more 
tangible and practical grounds than did the science and 
statesmanship of professors in 1848. The peasants moder- 
ately demanded the cessation of all kinds of tithes, and of 
every other species of grinding injustice. They asked for 
the introduction of a uniform currency, and of uniform 
weights and measures, the abolition of serfdom, of internal 
custom houses and duties, the abolition of privileges of 
caste, free popular courts of justice, bails for imprison- 



ment, etc. ; in one word, their demands embraced all the 
fundamental and not subversive principles of a free and 
well organized state. To all this Luther answered, that 
" A pious Christian should rather die a hundred deaths 
than give way a hair's breadth to the peasants' demands. 
The government should exercise no mercy ; the day of 
wrath and the day of the sword was come, and duty to 
God obliged them to strike hard as long as they could move 
a limb. Whoever perished in this service was a martyr 
of Christ." 

Altogether the first Protestants or Lutherans in Ger- 
many stood on the side of legitimacy. " Cujus regio ejus 
religio," said Luther, transferring thus to the sovereigns 
the power over the church that had been wrested from the 
popes, and investing the princes with the exclusive power 
of the reformation. The Lutherans further maintain, 
that God alone sets princes and sovereigns over the human 
race. They insisted upon the duty of submitting to unjust 
and censurable sovereigns. The English or Anglo-Saxon 
reform carried out by Henry YIIL, as the Episcopal 
Church, was the most faithful to the spirit of Lutheran 
principles. If, therefore, the spirit of reform is ana- 
lyzed and classified according to certain predisj)Ositions 
or aptitudes of races, the spirit originally evinced by the 
German race with all its branches, the English or Anglo- 
Saxon included, was a conservative one in all social and 
political questions. From another language, from another 
race came the breath, by which the spirit of reform ac- 
quired its full, all-comprehending signification and fulfil- 
ment. The social, democratic ideas of Lambert were 
taken up by Calvin to the great dislike and repugnance of 
Luther, and of the immense majority of German reformers. 
Without Calvin a Frenchman, the reformation would have 
preserved its monarchist character. Calvinism gave to it 



the republican and democratic one ; to Calvinism belongs 
the merit of having thoroughly reinvigorated and renovat 
ed the Christian world. Calvinist writers, as Languet and 
others, maintain that the people make a state and not the 
sovereign; that the states can exist without the prince, 
but not without the people. Such principles were pro- 
fessed by the French and Flemish Huguenots, and brought 
to Scotland by Knox. The Scotch presbyterians and pu- 
ritans, not by any means the descendants of Anglo-Saxons, 
but Huguenot and Flemish refugees, introduced these prin- 
ciples into England. There they fructified in independ- 
ents and puritans, those founders and inaugurators on this 
continent of a new evolution of humanity. 

Democratic in principle was the life of the primitive 
Christians, sustained and animated by fraternity and equal- 
ity. The example of the primitive Christians, the principle 
of election prevailing among them, moved to imitation the 
Calvinistic and puritan reformers, and not the inspirations 
resulting from a distinction of race. Even in the Catholic 
hierarchy a shadow of democratic principle was preserved ; 
as dignities were conferred by a kind of election, and func- 
tions bestowed according to mental capacity, and the people 
likewise originally participated in the election of Bishops. 
Democratic tendencies were spread and working, previous 
even to the reformation, among the Italians. Rienzi Savon- 
arola proclaimed the principle of the sovereignty of the 
people. Even the Jesuits, those stanchest apostles of ab- 
solute power, and of legitimacy, in cases of need paid hom- 
age, in their peculiar manner, to the principle of the su- 
premacy of the people. Parsons, Allen in England under 
Elizabeth, Bellarmine in Italy, and many others of these 
fathers wrote and asserted : " That Grod has not bestowed 
the temporal or worldly power and authority on any one in 
particular,; whence it follows that he has bestowed it on the 



masses. The authority of the state is lodged therefore in 
the people, and the people consign it sometimes to a single 
person, sometimes to several ; they perpetually retain the 
right of changing the form of government, of retracting its 
granted authority, of disposing of it anew." In this spirit 
wrote Suarez. Above all, the Jesuit Mariana elaborated 
the dogma of the sovereignty of the people. True it is, 
that for these Jesuits of the sixteenth century the princi- 
pal object was to prove, that Elizabeth, and Henry lY. 
could be deposed by their Catholic subjects. But to es- 
tablish this they were obliged to bow before the absolute 
principle of the sovereignty of the people. 

The principle, albeit not in its absolute purity and 
vigor, became generalized, reinvigorated, and established 
as an indestructible fact by the spirit of Calvinistic reform. 
Switzerland alone formed an exceptional case. The es- 
tablishment of the Swiss republics, of which only those 
of the three primitive cantons were then democratic in 
principle, resulted from events perfectly human in their 
nature, and not out of any specialty of race, as both the 
oppressed and the oppressor belonged to the G-erman one. 
Thus likewise, in the struggles of the sixteenth centm-y, 
the confluence of events brought that to pass ; albeit the 
populations of the French language, wherein Calvinism 
spread the most vigorously, had the greatest number of 
victims murdered by Charles Y., Phillip II., Alva, and 
the Papal or Roman inquisition. Those of the German 
tongue succeeded in finally overthrowing Romanism and 
despotism, and in establishing the Dutch republic. 

Nowhere therefore in the development of modern civ- 
ilizatioD, in what by some is called the modern social and 
political comprehension of liberty, does the G-erman men- 
tal or ethnological element prevail to such an extent as to 
give to it a peculiar character. If even the domain of 



abstract speculation or metaphysics is by common fallacy 
assigned almost exclusively to the German mind, it was 
yet a Frenchman, Des Cartes, who laid the foundations 
of modern post-scholastic metaphysical philosophy ; it 
was Spinosa, a Hebrew, who laid those of the modern 
rationalistic system. In all the struggles of our epoch 
for liberty on the continent of Europe, the Celto-Ro- 
manic nations struck before, and more boldly, than the 
G-erman ones. The great French Revolution led the 
van. In 1822-23 Italy and Spain attempted to establish 
constitutional governments, while the Germans were still 
speculating ; and so in 1848, the first shock came again 
from Celto-Homanic descendants. Those Romanic na- 
tions rose repeatedly, imperiously urged and spurred by 
events, and events alone influence and shape out the desti- 
nies of the human family. 

The invaders of Britain, the Angles, the Saxons, and 
the Jutlanders were a branch of the German race, issuing 
out of the stem which extended over the greatest part of 
. the North, and to which belonged the Scandinavians, the 
Frisons, and some others. These Angles and Saxons dwelt 
between the Eider and the Elbe, where now is Holstein — 
and even now the Holsteiners can be considered as the 
original and pure root. The primitive mode of life, the 
customs and characteristics of the Anglo-Saxons were 
common to them, with the great majority of the whole 
German family, as were common too all the myths, and the 
divinities, and the legends. It would seem, however, 
that in destructiveness and ferocity the invaders of Bri- 
tain surpassed all the other kindred tribes. Fire and 
sword was their law. The natives retired before them to 
the North and to Wales, and about four hundred cities, 
the remains of Roman culture, were destroyed. This 
Anglo-Saxon invasion was not, however, similar to that of 



the tribes who poured into the continental Koman world, 
moving with whole families to the West in search of 
new homes, wholly abandoning their former seats, and 
leaving behind them a solitude open to the invasion or oc- 
cupation of a new tribe, or of a new race. Not the whole 
tribe moved from the banks of the Elbe, but bands of ro- 
vers, leaving behind them all the family ties. The same 
thing was done by the Scandinavians, the Danes, the Nor- 
mans. They could not encumber their embarkations with 
women or children, to face the dangers of the stormy sea. 
For their predatory purposes they wanted hands rather 
than mouths. These expeditions accordingly were wholly 
different from migrations. When a portion of land was 
already subdued and secured, then only succeeding expedi- 
tions carried with them women and families, but never in 
sufficient number, and the majority of the conquerors would 
naturally, therefore, be induced to take wives from among 
the natives. The scarcity of women is the prevailing fea- 
ture of all colonizations. The same was the case with the 
first settlements in this country, although made under pa- 
cific and well regulated conditions. American history re- 
cords how this scarcity of women was felt, and by what 
curious methods it was often supplied. In those distant 
barbarian times, the same mode of supplying the want 
could not take place, nor did there exist cities filled with 
such a marketable produce. Therefore, when the Anglo- 
Saxons began to settle in Britain, they must have united 
with the native women. Those women, already born and 
brought up in a certain culture and refinement, naturally 
charmed and attracted the rude barbarians. That is a 
common and general occurrence, and can be considered as 
an unavoidable as well as a logical law, in the play of human 
passions. In this way, by intermarriage with the native 
women, even in the first generation, in the first years of 



the conquest, a considerable adulteration must have been 
made in the purity of the Anglo-Saxon blood. Subsequently 
the Danish and the Norman invasions produced new amal- 
gamations. The Normans, brought originally from the 
same stem as the Anglo-Saxons, had been modified for cen- 
turies by the influence of new combinations and events, by 
the settled mode of life in Normandy, and by contact with 
Western culture. Thus they brought with them to Eng- 
land characteristics new and wholly different from those 
of their Scandinavian and G-erman ancestry. 

Out of those various combinations and crossings came 
forth the Englishman, whose character and features are 
thoroughly different from any of the Grerman stocks and 
tribes from which he is ethnologically descended. The 
English character was formed under the action of special 
combinations and events, and the institutions framed out 
and developed by the action of time, were the result of 
special historical circumstances. If these institutions 
can be exclusively ascribed to a special mental Anglo- 
Saxon and therefore G-erman qualification, why did they 
exist neither in Holstein nor in other parts of G-ermany, 
where the source ought to have been preserved in its un- 
altered purity, and where there was no contact whatever, 
no mixing with the ancient, declining world ? 

Some rough traditional customs were very likely pre- 
served ; but new emergencies, new modes of life, new 
creeds, claimed new solutions. Therein and not in the 
distinctness of race, lay the germs of the future English 
nation. The English history bears eminently the marks 
of events, and not of any special predestination. 

The Anglo-Saxon laws and customs, wherein some, 
with unabated pertinacity, look for the germs of political 
liberty and democracy, are more or less similar to those 
of all the other Germanic tribes of that epoch, and there- 



fore neither are marked by a special spirit of liberty, nor 
by the recognition of equal rights to every individual 
member of the State. The much spoken of Witenage- 
mote, were councils of the elder or Ealdorman and kings, 
that is, of the more influential and powerful of those who 
were entitled to it by the personal privilege of birth or of 
social position. Bishops participated therein. Besides 
that, such councils are common to the rudest state of so- 
ciety, and they were in use among other tribes. The meet- 
ings of the Indian chiefs and sachems to discuss their af- 
fairs had the same bearing, and in principle the same origin. 
Not these Witenagemotes contained the germ of the repre- 
sentative system subsequently developed in England. In 
ancient republics — always municipal — each citizen having 
political rights, exercised them in person by vote. The same 
was the case with the Grermans. They had their March 
and May meetings. When they settled on conquered 
lands, became scattered over extensive spaces, and formed 
large States, their domestic habits became more fixed and 
orderly. These gatherings became more necessary and 
more frequent. The new mode of social life begat more 
numerous and various interests, and complications in- 
creased. The administration of justice at the outset of 
society was almost exclusively in the hands of the Grer- 
mans. This obliged the knights, who were scattered over 
waste territories, to appear in person in cities where courts 
were to be held. But a peaceful residence in cities was 
repulsive to the majority of the knights. It seems that 
under Charlemagne they already preferred to delegate 
their powers and the duty of participating in the courts 
of justice to such members of their body as inhabited the 
cities, or as were more willing to sojourn in them for a 
time. This might have been the beginning of the repre- 
sentative system, originating in new social combinations, 



habits and necessities. The same or similar canses might 
have existed in England ; but the time of its commence- 
ment, or the positive causes which brought forth this sys- 
tem, cannot be ascertained with historical certainty. 
When the Norman barons called the cities, the inferior 
knighthood, and the yeomanry, to participate in a limited 
manner in the administration of the State, the cities, which 
were incorporated bodies, and the country gentry, very 
naturally could not appear in mass, but only by their 
mandataries or representatives, as some centuries before 
was practised in France under Charlemagne, and perhaps 
even earlier. The subdivisions into privileged classes 
was even more strongly marked among the Anglo-Saxons 
than among the other Germans. The social body was 
composed of the high aristocracy or Ealdorman, where- 
from the earls, of gentry or Thanes or Thegons, of the free 
yeomanry, who stood under the patronage of the powerful, 
called Hlaford or bread-giving patrons, and the slaves. 
All these classes were separated and distinct from each 
other, by a proportional gradation of the rights which 
they enjoyed. The composition or weregild existed among 
the Anglo-Saxons, and was proportioned to the social 
order of the victim. The same was the case among other 
German tribes. The oath of an earl was ec[ual to that of 
six Thanes, and so down proportionally. An offence com- 
mitted against a woman of noble birth was punished some- 
times with death, which same offence against one of loAver 
origin was atoned for by a proportional fine. So much for 
Anglo-Saxon democracy. Feudality was the cement of 
Anglo-Saxon conf|uest, and of the division of the subdued 

The constitutional liberty of England is the work of 
the Norman barons, who could no longer endure the op- 
pression exercised over them by the kings. The move 



ment originated not with the Anglo-Saxon part of the 
population, nor was it an outburst of a higher principle. 
The kings injured, in various ways, the rights, the material 
interests of the barons, and they rose to defend them, but 
not because they were moved by an abstract love of free- 
dom, or urged to action by preconcerted ideas. The 
agencies in the English movement of the 13th century 
were wholly different from those which previously acted 
throughout the continent. On the continent, burghers and 
even villains united with kings against the nobles ; in 
England the nobles were the first to strike against tyranny, 
and called in and admitted the commons. This was a stroke 
of good policy, by which the king was prevented from draw- 
ing the cities to his side, a policy taught to the barons by the 
events of the continent. The movement for emancipation 
on the continent was effected when the Anglo-Saxons, that 
is, the mass of the people, trembled at the bidding of Nor- 
man barons and sovereigns. These barons are the fathers 
of the English liberties. After the battle of Lewes, Si- 
mon Montfort, a French nobleman, and the other barons 
called the commons to their parliament ; they did it in 
order to strengthen themselves against the arbitrary action 
of the king. For a long period those commons — the only 
genuine Anglo-Saxon element, if there be any — the knights, 
the gentry and yeomanry ; all of them very reluctantly and 
even against their will participated in the parliaments. 
This is illustrated by the fines which were continually im- 
posed upon them for non-appearance. So much for the in- 
nate Anglo-Saxon love of self-government and of liberty. 

The movement against King John originated in the 
lesion of interests. The barons wished to submit no 
longer to arbitrary taxation, to the arbitrary disposition 
and administration of feudal estates, to unlawful wardships 
over minors, and above all they wished to have the free 



use of forests. The rest of the nation, who were equally 
injured in property and security, responded to their ap- 
peal. . All this is perfectly in accordance with the com- 
mon course of human affairs, and no proof of a special 
predestined exclusive mission. ■ 

The division of the districts or counties into the 
thungs and hundreds^ was the result of organic necessity 
in a population principally living on scattered farms and 
country-seats, in a laud having then few and poor boroughs 
rather than cities. In the necessity of organizing origi- 
nated the division of the population and of the city under 
the Koman, Athenian and other republics and municipali- 
ties. The tens and hundreds might likewise have been 
made in imitation of the Slavic communes, as the An- 
glo-Saxons were of old the neighbors of the Slavi. A 
continual intercourse existed between the two tribes ; they 
united in predatory excursions, and some of the Slavi 
very probably participated in the conquest of Britain. 
The division of the Slavic communes into tens and hun- 
dreds, for administrative purposes, can be said to be im- 
memorial. It still prevails in Russia, and no traces of 
such a division are to be detected in Germany the foun- 
tain head of the Anglo-Saxons. 

The emancipation of cities is thus described by Hal- 
lam : " The progress of towns in several continental coun- 
tries, from a condition bordering upon servitude to wealth 
and liberty, attracts attention. * * * Their growth 
in England, both from general causes and imitative policy^ 
was very similar and nearly coincident. Under the An- 
glo-Saxon line of sovereigns we scarcely can discover in 
our scanty records, the condition of their inhabitants. 
* * * But the burghers of some towns were already a 
distinct class from the ceorls and rustics, though hardly 
free according to our estimation." 



. Tlie cities in England were oppressed, and in England, 
as every wliere else in the ancient and the modern world, it 
was oppression and arbitrariness which evoked emancipa- 
tion. The oppression of the feeble and poor by the rich and 
powerful gave birth to the laws of Solon ; the same causes 
produced the Tribune in Rome, gave power to the crushed 
plebeians, and were the principal agencies in framing and 
developing the immortaiyz^s civile. Oppression, as has been 
pointed out already, aroused Italy, Spain, France, brought 
the In orman barons into arms against royalty, and resulted 
in the initiation of the commons into political life. Ma- 
terial interests were at the bottom of all these move- 
ments, and Hallam says with truth, " that in the further 
development of English liberties, these liberties were pur- 
chased by money." If any special characteristic of the 
Anglo-Saxons is perpetuated in the Englishman, it is the 
deferential respect paid to aristocracy, a feeling which 
penetrates the English people to the core. Events evolv- 
ing from new combinations, different from those of the 
Anglo-Saxon epoch, framed out the English institutions. 
The conquest of the Anglo-Saxons by the Normans, is 
one of the easiest recorded in history. What history calls 
the Norman times, gave and marks the mettle of the Eng- 
lish character. 

The institution of the jury is claimed to be specially 
Anglo-Saxon. If so it is specially Grerman. As such it 
ought to have existed in Germany as well as among the 
original Anglo-Saxons on the Elbe, and other northern 
branches of the same stem. It cannot be expected that 
the contact with the Roman civilization destroyed there 
the original German judicial habits. Such an assertion 
can be applied with some plausibility to the Franks, Goths, 
Burgundians, Longobards — but is of no avail in respect 
to the immense majority of the German race. 



The method of settling disputes and litigations by 
councils, composed of the oldest of the tribe or of the 
community is, it may. be said, inherent in the rudest social 
state. It has prevailed from time immemorial, and among 
various nations, and to it can be traced with certainty the 
origin of what is called juries. Thus the Amphictyons 
were a kind of jury. The Eoman law, nearly from the 
beginning of its development, used a kind of jurors in 
civil matters, jurors whose opinion on a given case was 
submitted to the praetor. How this judicial custom be- 
came obliterated does not belong to the present discussion. 
In criminal matters, in Athens and Rome, nearly the 
whole people composed the jury and the judge. 

The primitive Germans had certain judicial obser- 
vances for the investigation of material truth, more or 
less resembling those of other tribes. The so-called jurors 
of the Anglo-Saxons served as means to investigate and 
find out the material facts of the case, but not to give any 
opinion about its validity. The circuit judge or function- 
ary, an earl, or a count, called the nearest neighbors of the 
litigants to give evidence according to their knowledge of 
facts. Under the Saxon kings no criminal cases were sub- 
mitted to the deliberation of such witnesses, or to that of 
any body of jurors selected from among knights or yeo- 
men. The kings themselves, or their mandataries deci- 
ded all such cases. Not the Saxon epoch therefore can 
alone be considered as having been pregnant with the great 
judicial institution. The historical development of the 
institution of the jury in England, out of Anglo-Saxon, 
Norman and Eoman judicial elements is very complicated. 
It took place under various political and social combina- 
tions and conditions, which it is impossible to compress 
within a brief outline. A jury in criminal cases, and 
above all for political offences against the monarchy and 



the State, can be traced no farther back than to the reign 
of Henry III., an epoch completely Norman. The barons 
insisted always on being judged by their peers, according 
to the universal privilege of nobility and chivalry all over 
Europe. This privilege was extended over the nation, 
together with all those constitutional liberties, into which 
she was initiated by the Norman barons. The last but 
the most beneficial of liberties, that of the free press, was 
for nearly three centuries wholly unknown and unnecessary 
in England. The cradle of the liberty of the press was 
Holland, after it became a republic ; and from Holland 
it was transplanted in the 18th century to England, and 
radiated successively over all Europe. 

Human events, by whose diversified influence various 
European evolutions and changes have been carried out, 
as well as the liberties of England, nursed in their infant 
development, those eternal principles which have given to 
America her lofty position in the history of social pro- 
gress. As the Englishman has no physical or special men- 
tal resemblance to the Grerman or the Anglo-Saxon, so the 
American has only few and very dim features in common 
with the Englishman, from whom he descends. Not An- 
glo-Saxon, therefore, is the character of the Americans, 
and not to this assumed origin are to be traced the facul- 
ties and qualifications which mark the American political 
and social institutions. Neither history and physiology, 
nor psychology and logic justify the favorite American 
theorem, that their freedom and democracy are the fruits 
of their Anglo-Saxon descent. It is, however, the prop- 
erty of fallacies, in proportion as they extend, to run out 
into what is absurd and illogical. 

Statistics show that in the early periods, when the 
English began to settle on this continent, two other na- 
tions composed the British Empire. The Irish and the 


Scotch — both of Celtic origin — migrated to America in 
such large numbers as to immediately produce a new 
physiological amalgamation. Various kinds of oppressions 
expelled them from their native lands ; freedom and more 
equal social organization attracted and fused them in 
America. Scotch and Irish poured in freely in the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth centuries. Buchanan and other 
statisticians assert that from 1691 to 1743, 263,000 Irish 
emigrated to America. This emigration was occasioned 
partly by the stagnation of the linen trade, partly by polit- 
ical and religious oppression. According to the same au- 
thorities, during the eighteenth century down to 1829, about 
a million of Irish and a quarter of a million of Scotch came 
to America, The Dutch element in New York, and that 
of the first French settlers in the Carolinas must likewise 
be taken into account. All the various elements of popu- 
lation were cemented together by religious and political 
liberty, embracing every one, and admitting him to equal 
rights in the community, and not on account of his former 
descent or nationality. Under the combined action of 
climate, new habits, new necessities and hardships, new 
daily pursuits and occupations, new and more intense men- 
tal and intellectual activity, the Americans became in a 
short time totally unlike the English in all external and 
internal characteristics. Even in the heart of New Eng- 
land it is nearly as easy to point out a genuine Englishman, 
as to point out a Frenchman, an Italian, or a Hebrew. 
The elongated, sharp, dried-up features of the American 
have nothing in common with the round, slightly turned-up, 
and juicy-faced Englishman. The long-necked American 
has not his type in England. Similar divergencies extend 
to the hair, and to the whole frame. The English phlegm 
is directly the opposite of the febrile American, who with 
reckless impetuosity hurries his pursuits, and uses up his 



own life. In proportion as the American character is ac- 
tive and expanding, these differences become more nume- 
rous, salient, and puzzling. All these changes were effect- 
ed by the paramount action of combined physical and 
mental events, and their all-powerful and uninterrupted 
influence and activity reveals itself in the various geo- 
graphical and political sections of the Commonwealth. 
Not only the man of the Southern States descends origi- 
nally from the same English social class — for the cavalier 
descent from English nobility assumed by the Southern 
planters is not sustained by history — as the man of the 
North, but New England has to a large degree peopled 
the Southern States. The Southerner, however, of the 
present day, has no resemblance in character either to 
the Englishman, or to his countrymen in the East and in 
the North. A gulf separates them in mental, social, and 
moral respects. The language is the only common tie. 
Two absolutely ethnologically different races of the old 
world, could not present a deeper contrast with each other. 

The American world was not called to life, and is not 
circumscribed by the narrow, blind, fatalistic physical laws 
of race. • Amidst ups and downs, in smooth and in thorny 
paths, at times overshadowed and then brilliantly luminous, 
the American world has been the bearer of the all-embra- 
cing, truly human manifestation of principles. They in- 
spired the Puritans, and to save them they abandoned the 
old world with its oppressions and prejudices. Kaces and 
tribes are already fully represented in history. Each spe- 
cially has given the last solution, the last word, if in re- 
ality a law of races has presided over human progress. 
To initiate man into a higher sphere, America issued out 
of notbingness. The right of reason watched over her 
first steps. Carried as he is here by the current of time, 
and of circumstances, man is to make a worthy use of the 



principles, «ind tlie mental and intellectual qualifications 
with which he is endowed. Then only they lead him to 
freedom. Freedom is the mass of all our physical and 
mental powers. It is the final aim of their combined ef- 
forts. It is at once development and consummation. 
Thus comprehended, freedom has reached its highest ex- 
pression in the institutions of the American free States, 
and freedom has carved out and has given the peculiar 
mark to the character of the man and to the citizens. 





The character of an individual or of a nation is the re- 
sult of a mass of variously combined inclinations, affec- 
tions, volitions, dispositions, convictions, determinations. 
They are all general and special, and the traits or charac- 
teristics determined by them are common, human, or indi- 
vidual, when evoked by the agency and play, in and upon 
us, of special conditions. Thus nearly every individual, 
and every nation, aside of what is in its character hu- 
man and common with others, has certain peculiar fea- 
tures of its own. And so have the Americans. The 
differences in character between the inhabitant of America 
and that of any other country whatever in Europe, are as 
salient as are the differences of their social state, of their 
political development, of their pursuits, habits, and com- 
prehension of life. Those differences are related to many 
causes at once ; their impartial appreciation explains and 
solves naturally, and therefore easily, the so-called enig- 
matical peculiarities of the Americans. 

New and powerful interests and strivings have evoked 
an unwonted and special current of activity, and with it new 
and diversified manifestations of man's nature. Therein 
is to be found the source of certain characteristic dis- 



similarities between the man of the new and of the old 
world. And the American people absolutely ought to 
have certain characteristic traits of its own to fulfil the 
task before it, to elaborate this task by a new and special 
process, and to perfect its own destinies and those of the 
part of the hemisphere adopted and appropriated for such 
an end. The character of the American, with all its 
sunny and shady sides, was not to be throughout the re- 
flection of the European one. Sameness is repulsive to 
nature, indefinite multifariousness is the everlasting mani- 
festation of her creative power. Man was placed here in 
new moral and material conditions and needs. Out of 
the fathomless depth of human nature these agencies 
evoked to the surface, that is to life, to activity, new 
characteristics in the individual and in the people. 

Political and social institutions often give an indelible 
mark to the character of a people, and as often again they 
are its reflection. History is full of the evidences of this 
fact. In America the character of the people and the 
institutions have acted reciprocally on their development ; 
a case of very rare occurrence in the history of nations 
and of their political and social evolutions. No nation, 
no people now existing is so thoroughly and intensely iden- 
tified with its institutions as is the American people. 

With sacred jealousy the American people watches 
over the national honor, over its relations with other 
States, over national independence. Being in possession 
of the highest goods, no sacrifice can be too great for their 
defence and preservation. No invasion from whatever 
quarter, no conquest, no overthrow of the existing order, 
could ever be successfully carried out. Not the presumed 
Anglo-Saxon blood, but the genuine American feeling, 
pouring out from constitutive principles as from a foun- 
tain-head, is the repelling force. Patriotic, exalted devo- 



tion is not an effort, but a natural lineament of character, 
a simple but inherent element of national life. 

The love of social independence, of domestic liberty, 
and their fullest enjoyment, produces in the American 
character that unbending quality which disables the indi- 
vidual from becoming a permanent denizen of other pow- 
ers, of other States. There may be a few rare exceptions. 
It is almost impossible to imagine an American becoming 
a servant of kings, subservient for ever to social caste. 
Soon his better nature must revolt ; but numbers of Euro- 
peans, from all social orders and positions, assimilate them- 
selves easily and in a short time to the state of things pre- 
vailing here ; they become identified with it to the core. 
To an Americanized, and therefore a reinvigorated Euro- 
pean, a return to the past worn-out conditions of existence 
would prove unbearable. 

Whatever shadows and shortcomings may be discov- 
ered in individuals, or in the mass of the people, as mani- 
fested in their domestic, internal complications — shadows 
and shortcomings mostly inseparable from our nature — a 
public spirit animates the whole people, and is forming 
here a public general characteristic, unrivalled in history. 

Such is the prominent and decided feature deeply 
carved out in the general national character. It breaks 
out with such a fulness and vitality, that definitions could 
only impair its comprehension. 

Not that patriotism in itself constitutes a dissimilarity 
between European nations and the American people. The 
virtue of patriotism is a patrimony of human nature. But 
here it has a different source, a different essence, and thus 
its workings and manifestations are different from those 
of other nations. Their domestic gods differ. The gods 
of old nations are local divinities ; those of the American 
people are all-embracing, pure and elevated principles. 



Tradition surrounds the one with its venerated halo, 
which is often stifling and obfuscated bj narrow prejudices, 
by indurated hostilities ; the American lares emit a life- 
expanding flame. Its action is quickly penetrating. Out 
of a social commingling issues the American people. It 
derives its lineage from various nations that are tradition- 
ally hostile to each other. On this soil fusion operates, 
ancient hereditary alienations melt and evaporate. One 
common patriotism embraces and inspires them all ; rea- 
son, freedom and humanity are its watchwords. 

Not less salient and peculiar than the public spirit, and 
created by the same or similar causes, is the characteristic 
of the American mind manifested in the thirst for know- 
ledge, for information. It imperatively urges the individ- 
ual with a pertinacity and generality not to be met with 
in any other nation on the globe, to satisfy this noble men- 
tal irritation, to satisfy it by sacrifices of the time and 
means, whether large or small, at his disposal. It is thus 
the most brilliantly projecting feature, and an individual 
property of this people. Not the wealthy, not the better 
circumstanced are principally the expression of these ur- 
gings, but it is rather special to the laborious masses. Not 
outward worldly leisure produces or evokes it, but an in- 
ward impulse. That is one of the cardinal differences be- 
tween American and European populations. This craving 
results from the radical recognition of equality of rights 
in every individual, inspiring him with self-consciousness, 
with self-respect, and opening before him the bright hori- 
zon of nobler purposes and aims. It is not a transmission 
by blood, nor the result of certain liberal concessions, 
called in Europe liberal institutions. In the English peo- 
ple, the nearest kindred to the majority of Americans, and 
living under liberal institutions, this spontaneity is not 



awakened, and the mass still gropes its way in a self-con- 
tented ignorance. 

Neither is this craving incited by an admonition exer- 
cised from above, by the efforts of a government, by the 
prevalent suggestions or example of a so-called superior 
stratum of society. This American phenomenon strength- 
ens the faith that the human race is to bask in floods of 
light, that enlightenment is the essence of man's nature, 
although its eJBfusion may have been benumbed for un- 
counted ages. This characteristic trait redeems at once 
the broadest and most truly democratic comprehension of 
a people, from the cavils heaped on it by the apostles of 
an absolute supreme authority, which, according to their 
assertions, is to hover providentially above the masses, to 
take the initiative and to direct their mental development. 

Extremes seemingly prevail in the American charac- 
ter. It is a combination of violent, nervous, feverish ex- 
citement and sturdy quietude, of calculation and daring, 
of cautiousness and swiftness in decision and action, of 
steadiness of purpose and recklessness in pursuits. It is 
stubborn and mobile, impressible and cold, cunning and 
straight-forward. Often inflated with immense pride and 
^ self-conceit, now soundly appreciating ones powers, and then 
humbly underrating them. 

Excitement is one of the most powerful springs in 
the American. It is so contagious that new comers, af- 
ter a comparatively short residence, are affected and car- 
ried away by it. Easily excited, the American cheerful- 
ly, nay enthusiastically, greets the object which for the 
moment satisfies this necessity of his temper ; and no ef- 
forts of his own invention are spared to endow this object 
for the moment with all imaginary attributes. Neither 
age nor sex is exempted from this intoxicating pleasure. 
He pays willingly and with the best grace for the moment 



of satisfaction, and raises the idol to the skies. But when 
the excitement is over, he lets it slide, unceremoniously, 
or often drops it roughly, careless where it may fall, to run 
the next moment after another. 

The people at large, as well as the various circles in 
which sociability divides society, all equally whirl in this 
dervis dance ; sometimes in common around a so-called 
public character, a literary, artistical, or any other often 
adventurous celebrity; then around the deos minorum 
gentium^ thrown in their way by chance, or whom often 
their own excited fancy adorns with imaginary distinc- 

Many and various are the causes accounting for and 
explaining this peculiarity. The nervous irritability ly- 
ing at the bottom, most probably is produced by the in- 
fluences of a trying and changeable climate. This turn 
given to the character at an early epoch has become now 
hereditary. The uniformity of the ancient colonial life, 
the rigidity of the Puritans and of their imitators, might 
have contributed to form it. Human imaginative nature 
revolts against uniformity, compression, against turning in 
one and the same circle. Single-track routine in life is 
repugnant, and any object or event is welcome which breaks 
such tiresome evenness. After contraction follows re- 
laxation in some manner or other. So the imagination 
eagerly and indiscriminately seizes upon any provender 
with which to appease its cravings. 

Even now, although new and more diversified elements 
are mingled in American life, a certain sameness still per- 
vades it. The circle extends, the horizon enlarges, and 
nevertheless monotony dominates the whole. It becomes 
the more painfully sensible, as the multifariousness of the 
world from without, and the longings from within excite, at- 
tract, and tickle the Americans. What therefore seems 



to offer a momentary interruption of monotony, excites 
and carries away, and often overpowers tlie better and 
cooler judgment. 

During the colonial or embryonic period, the colonists 
were separated from the events of the world. The gloom- 
iness of such an isolation was only cheered up by arrivals 
from Europe, from the mother country. The communi- 
cations were rare, and thus whatever could give a new 
turn to the monotonous existence, must have been heartily 
greeted, as a link connecting the Americans with the gen- 
eral, social and civilizing movement. It was an echo from^ 
a distant, fairy land, and even its feeblest or most discord- 
ant sound must have deeply moved, strongly excited and 
affected those whom it reached. For domestic as well as 
for social reasons, any accession of new comers, settlers or 
visitors, must have been felt as increasing the moral and 
material worth and significance of the colonial existence. 
By all these accumulated reasons, as well as by the physi- 
cal conditions so powerfully acting on the nerves, on the 
frame, on the temperament of the inhabitants, excite- 
ment became almost a second nature. And what among 
the society of Europe is only a rare and transient out- 
burst, becomes here almost a normal condition. 

Often by superficial observers, as well as by the Amer- 
icans themselves, excitement is confounded with enthusi- 
asm. But enthusiasm has its hearth in the mind and in 
the heart. Its sacred, ever-glowing fire pours from within, 
warms and inspires ; excitement blunts the imagination, 
or at the best reflects only a delusive mirage. And for 
the honor of human nature, below the froth of excitement, 
lies in the American breast the deepest enthusiasm for all 
that is grand, generous, and noble. Enthusiasm generated 
their history, enthusiasm inaugurated their political exist- 



ence ; and among all the nations they alone emerged from 
such a sacred source. 

The great reproach made by Europeans to the Ameri- 
cans, and one which has become proverbial among them- 
selves, is the excessive love of money, the fact that they are 
a money -making people. Undoubtedly money-making has 
eaten itself deep into the American character, but the love 
of money, although considered a moral disease by all the 
moralists of antiquity and of our times, has been and is now 
the most deeply-rooted passion in human nature. Under 
one or another shape, in this or that manner, money has 
ruled the world at all times. Neither is the love of it less 
violent, less intense among the immense majority of Euro- 
peans than among the Americans. If among the latter 
money-making seems to form the main object of existence, 
it is the effect of various causes, intrinsic and normal, and 
explained as such by their history, by the concatenation 
of peculiar events and circumstances, which have sur- 
rounded them from the cradle. 

Money and commerce were the only ties between the 
colonists and the mother or any other country. The colo- 
nies of modern Europe have been exclusively mercantile 
enterprises. Mercantile speculation sent out the first set- 
tlers, and even the Puritans looked to trade as the sole means 
of maintenance, and of preserving the imperatively ne- 
cessary intercourse with the old world. Mercantile rela- 
tions therefore formed the pivot on which turned the ex- 
istence of the colonists and of the colonies. Thrown upon 
their own scanty resources, the colonists could only obtain 
for money or money's worth, all the necessaries of life, the 
implements and requisites whose possession alone could 
preserve them from destruction when they first exhibited 
themselves on this soil. All this was to be paid for, in some 
way or other. Thus almost before the first immigrant took 



a firm root in the soil, money-making became the absorbing 
object of his activity, as upon money depended his domes- 
tic, his family, and his social existence. His entire social 
position and significance depended upon his commercial 
means. The colonist, his toilsome labors and sweat, must 
have been the object of greedy speculation in the mother 
country. Every thing therefore powerfully urged and 
contributed to develop in him from the start the money- 
making propensity, and to make it paramount to all oth- 
ers. It was his defensive weapon and his salvation. So 
from infancy every thing stimulated, nourished and devel- 
oped this passioQ. 

Since the Americans elevated themselves to the dig- 
nity of a nation, the character of the American commu- 
nity is even more industrial and commercial than it was of 
old. Their growth, their increase, their prosperity, are in- 
dissolubly connected with the extension of their mercan- 
tile or industrial operations. Thus money-making becomes 
more intense and all-absorbing, as the love of money is 
more inherent in commercial occupations than in any other, 
and in America every occupation runs out into a com- 
mercial one. 

Only a prosperous nation can be considered as truly 
civilized, as enabled and prepared to enjoy democracy and 
self-government. The prosperity of such a nation consists 
in the prosperity of the whole population. It is the duty 
of every individual to devote all his faculties to securing 
this blessing to himself, and in this way to the community. 
Money-making, in its true sense, is the reward of intelli- 
gence, labor, and toil ; it was and is the road to individual 
and to general prosperity. It is an inborn and noble 
pride to be the artisan of one's own position and independ- 
ence. It is one of the noblest manifestations of the con- 
sciousness of human dignity. The possession of wealth 



has always been among the most powerful incentives to 
action ; money-making by industry, enterprise, specula- 
tion, is the only legitimate and honorable way to reach the 
goal. And of such a nature is the money-making, which 
engrosses an immense majority of the Americans. It con- 
tinually extends the area of culture. It conquers the rug- 
ged face of nature, transforms the wilderness into a habit- 
able and cultivated soil. It is this which pushes the 
American to cross torrents, cut his path across primitive 
forests, disembowel the earth, people solitudes. He tries to 
make money out of the rough forces of nature. The sons 
of farmers, artisans, operatives, as soon as their faculties 
are developed, look forward to the means of securing their 
independence, of making money. They leave home, 
plunge into distant regions, and into hardships, privations 
and toils. They try to discount, to turn them into money, 
that is, into their own well-being and prosperity, and that of 
their families. Money-making has given the unparalleled 
expansion to American industry and commerce, covered 
the ocean with American bottoms, the land with prosper- 
ous cities, with nets of railroads, with mills and factories. 
In proportion as prosperity increases and expands, in- 
creases and expands general civilization. The genuine 
Yankee, that is, the man of the East and his kindred in 
other States, is considered the most sharp in this feverish 
pursuit. But they have the best and most numerous 
public schools and scientific establishments, buy the 
most books, and subscribe most generously for all public 
establishments and objects, as well as for alleviating pri- 
vate miseries and sufferings. True it is, that this all-ab- 
sorbing fever has likewise its morbid results. But when 
the good and the evil are summed up, good comes out 

All conditions being equal, consideration will always 



attach itself to wealth. Agamemnon became the leader 
of the Greeks in the Trojan war, because, as Thucydides 
says, he was the wealthiest among the confederated kings. 
The starting point of the colonists was nearly alike, as was 
also their aim. The one who first reached it honestly must 
have enjoyed consideration, the more so as in the colonial 
life there existed few other distinctions. Almost all were 
in one way or another devoted to trade, and the so-called 
ancient families derive their pre-eminence from the fact 
that by successful labor or trade, they acquired before oth- 
ers a proportional independence. The distinctions are 
therefore only chronological questions ; their source, their 
origin are alike. Those who first acquired wealth, and 
there was no other way to do it than by money-making, 
became benefactors of their community, establishing and 
endowing various public establishments. It was only by 
acquiring wealth they were able to satisfy their nobler im- 

The sneer at Americans for their money-making pro- 
pensity does not become Europeans. As mentioned above, 
to this propensity the country owes the major part of its 
greatness. What is done by governments and sovereigns 
in Europe, is done here either by private individuals or by 
communities rendered prosperous by their own exertions. 
European society had its origin in the absorption by one 
class of the labor of another, and this still continues to 
prevail. The European social organization contains va- 
rious social parasitical existences, not less greedy to ac- 
quire and make money ; only the greediness is overlaid by 
certain conventional definitions and incrusted prejudices. 
If the European aristocracy, if the world of leisure, the 
official world do not make money themselves, in the same 
way as the Americans, these European classes make money 
by oppressing millions, and living upon their labor, or 



upon the taxes. European society has various social in- 
herited distinctions, to which it pays due, or oftener undue 
deference. American society, from the start a commercial 
one, very naturally paid and pays deference to the success- 
ful money-makers. It may be that nowadays wealth en- 
joys in certain cases too much of consideration. But even 
this is paid to it rather in social and private relations, 
than in political ones. However desirable it might be to 
have this current modified at least, if not changed, still it is 
not absolutely to be condemned in itself. It is in human 
nature to pay deference to success. In the great events 
of the world, success is considered as God's verdict. In 
a society constructed like the American, moving in such an 
orbit, generally devoted to pursuits of a commercial char- 
acter, success crowned with money is easily appreciated, 
understood, and felt by society at large. By such a suc- 
cess society is mostly benefited. A man who has made 
his fortune by honorable means and enterprise, of whatever 
kind or nature, such a one, however deficient he may be in 
general culture, has nevertheless given proofs of certain 
eminent faculties of intellect ; powers of judgment and of 
combination ; ability, in seizing hold of the opportune 
moment ; endurance, skill, activity, energy ; and so he de- 
serves consideration. A fool or an imbecile will never 
become rich — never be able to make money. 

With all the numerous and dark drawbacks of this 
propensity, it does not generate avarice in the Americans. 
If generally they are infuriated in the pursuit of money, 
they spend it as freely as they make it. If they are called 
men of the dollar, at any rate they are not hunters of 
cents. Parsimonious economy is not their characteristic, 
and in general the racing after dollars, the thirst for gain, 
does not make them contemptible misers, or callous to oth- 
ers. The celebrated axiom, " Help yourself," signifies 



that every one ought to make his choice independently, and 
build up his position by personal exertions ; but it is far 
from including any egotism, any cold indifference to his 
neighbor, to the efforts of any one undertaking a difficult 
path in life. Americans are generally the most cautious 
persons in the world, in giving free advice, in going direct to 
the point. They shun the responsibility of deciding for 
another — of disillusioning him, or of interfering with a 
contrary advice or opinion. Thus when asked a question, 
they mostly answer in generalities. But if the choice is 
once made, the pursuit or object selected, then they stand 
by with counsel and action. The settler in a new and 
strange land, is heartily supported in his toils by his neigh- 
bors. A foreigner or native, starting in any honest un- 
dertaking finds support and credit, this mainspring and 
soul cf a commercial society, and nowhere so largely and 
liberally conceived, or carried to such an extent, as in 

Comprehended in a broad national sense, money-mak- 
ing, a result of the combination of events that have pressed 
upon Americans from the start, and amidst which they 
still live, is neither reprehensible, nor abject, nor mischiev- 
ous, as it is commonly represented. That this propensity 
belongs originally to human nature, and that here it is 
stimulated by special and peculiar circumstances, is evinced 
by the fact, that the Europeans, continually pouring into 
this continent, do not yield in any respect to the native 
Americans in the heat and the eagerness of the race. 
Among the largest fortunes may be counted those made 
by Europeans, and great numbers, especially from the com- 
mercial class, immigrated here exclusively for the purpose 
of money-making, unmoved by any other broad interest. 
Further, without the money-making and money-spending 
Americans, European industry must burst of plethora, or 



come to a stand still. Unacquainted as I am with tlie 
whole nature and manipulation of articles of this kind, I 
judge and appreciate the general results. The general 
character of commercial and other business transactions, 
seems not to he impregnated with so much dishonesty as 
is often witnessed by England. Aside from the astounding 
forgeries and bankruptcies which have recently burst over 
that country, foreign merchants, above all those in the 
East, complain of frauds perpetrated upon them by the 
English manufacturers, and others of the commercial 
brotherhood. Although such occurrences, almost inherent 
in the nature of commerce, of intense money worship, and 
ft)rming the dark side of both, might happen in America, 
at the same time as much integrity, honesty and rectitude 
is to be found there as in any country in the world. 
Undoubtedly, in individual cases more or less numerous, 
money-making degenerates into a degrading and coarse 
passion ; but such cases do not prejudice or stamp the 
national character. With many who entered the race 
early in life, this passion has subdued or absorbed all the 
other faculties of intellect — it has become a second nature. 

As almost every body is obliged to run the gauntlet, 
one that stops even for respite, is soon overwhelmed. 
The whirlwind seizes and carries them away. Money-ma- 
king becomes an uncjuenchable thirst, an object of love, 
an attraction similar to that which art or study exercises 
over the artist or the scholar. It is a power and a dis- 
tinction. Then money is made not merely for the sake of 
becoming independent and rich, of enjoying both, but from 
habit — on account of finding any other congenial occu- 
pation impossible. It becomes an intellectual drilling, 
and a test of skill. It becomes a game, deeply combined, 
complicated — a struggle with men and events, exciting, 
captivating, terrible, hand to liand, man to man, cunning 



to cunniDg. The socially passionate life in Europe, diver- 
sified, and full of various enjoyments, gives to a successful 
winner, new scopes, attractions and pleasures, such as so- 
ciety does not proffer, allow or create in this country. 
An American can with difficulty if at all turn in another 
direction, plunge in another passion, or activity, seek 
around for new and different drastic or soothing pastimes, 
to quench this ardor which for the greatest part of his life 
has been concentrated in money-making, and has been 
urging and directing his course. Thus where the Euro, 
pean can stop or divert his attention to other objects, an 
American once in the middle of the torrent must go on, 
spurred by habits, by the force of events ; as even to pre- 
serve an accumulated fortune, becomes in itself another race, 
another almost deadly strife. Such is the exclusive 
money-maker, but he is not the type of the general char- 
acter, — he has no hold on the people at large, his dens are 
in large cities. 

No nation is equally sensitive and impatient of criti- 
cism as the Americans. They often become irritated not 
only by the finding fault with their character, customs, 
manners, habits, institutions, or culture, but find it disa- 
greeable when climate, soil, fauna or flora is judged infe- 
rior to those of the old world. Various causes provoke 
this sensitiveness, and it can be accounted for in various 
ways. It results from both pride and diffidence. The 
Americans are well aware of their deficiencies, but they 
feel the sting of injustice done to them by those foreign- 
ers who obtrude themselves as unrelenting judges. Gen- 
erally the faults are overrated, and the people are lashed 
by scorching and undeserved ridicule. The American, 
the last comer into the family of nations, is continually on 
the alert — not to be treated or considered as a parvenu, not 
to be slighted or disparaged. Youth is generally suscep- 



tible and irritable "before it enters manhood. The more so, 
when occasional shortcomings are maliciously pointed out, 
when the intrinsic good is almost overlooked. The taunts 
of English travellers and writers, of the English press, 
have principally provoked this irritation, and made it 
nearly chronic. Such authors, taking a superficial glance 
at the country and at its inhabitants, have misunderstood, 
misrepresented what they saw. Without investigating the 
cause of certain effects, by which their genuine or assumed 
fastidiousness was offended, they deliberately calumniated 
by wholesale, for faults committed by some. The European 
standard, when forcibly applied here, must necessarily 
wound and be faulty, the two states of sociability differing 
wholly from each other. 

Boasting is often carried by certain Americans to the 
extreme. Often however it is a reaction against slights, 
an effort to veil deficiencies, an effort made by a people 
aware of them, but on the other hand conscious of having 
accomplished in two or three generations what it took other 
nations centuries to perform. Generally, human nature re- 
volts at taunts, at arrogant reproof, at undervaluation. 
Experience and time alone teach a becoming equanimity. 
European nations bear scoffing more patiently because 
they have thrown it occasionally for centuries at each 
other's head. Like old war horses accustomed to the roar 
of battles, they remain cool and self-possessed. There is 
on the American surface much to be rubbed off and 
rounded. Rude angles are to be softened, ease, flexibility 
instilled. Time must do the work. Refinement is a 
fruit slowly ripened by ages. And in America the whole 
people, not a class, is the tree on which the fruit is to be 
borne. In the people at large reposes soft mould below 
the apparently coarse crust, and in due time, the plastic 
virtue of nature will cast it into congenial and sociable 





American nationality has two hearth-stones — democracy 
and self-government. The origin of all other nations and 
states, past or present, was different from that of the 
American commonwealth. America was evolved from a 
fruitful social element and principle. The authority of 
one exercised over the many, acquired by traditional influ- 
ences, by superior physical or mental force, or by volun- 
tary submission of individuals, forming one and the same 
race, family or tribe — such in all ages was the beginning 
of societies. Nimrod, Zohack, Saturn, Japhet, Danaus, 
Cadmus, Theseus, Romulus, Odin, Pharamond, and all 
those heroic legendary founders of nations and states, 
bore the same character, acted under similar circumstan- 
ces and conditions. Conquest and the individual author- 
ity of one over all, or afterwards of few over many, begat 
classes and castes. And so to the present day, whatever 
may have been the changes and modifications, European 
society, like that of the ancient world, is composed of 
three principal elements. The one, which under different 
names rules and legislates ; the second, which shares in 
the power, in the spoils, prominently executes the laws, 


defends, fights and upholds the privileged state ; the third, 
on whose shoulders reposes and presses the whole struc- 

Not one of these elements existed at the outset of 
American communities. No hero or chief, implanting his 
sword or banner, marked out around the foundations of 
the city the boundaries of an empire. No submissive 
companions or subjects were the pillars of the genuine 
American structure, nor was it cemented by any authori- 
tative will. Democracy was the vital essence of this new 
society, and democracy was cradled and nursed by the 
combination of events which brought it into existence. 
And not one of the facts, axioms and theorems, which for 
ages ruled the old world, had any bearing on the new one. 

Identical convictions, aims and purposes, attracted and 
united the primitive settlers. Therein was encompassed 
social equality. Those among them who might have be- 
longed in the mother country to a superior or privileged 
class, at the start gave up all such distinctions, doing it 
either by conviction, or by force of circumstances. The 
first administrators or directors among the settlers, were 
freely elected by them. Their fitness, their mental supe- 
riority were the qualities which influenced the choice, and 
not any recognition of privileged aristocratic superiority. 
Besides, no social supremacy or distinction can be trans- 
fused from an anterior condition, or built up in colonies, 
with such beginnings as those on this northern continent, 
and above all those of New England. However socially 
mixed might have been the first body of settlers, necessity 
would" bring them at once under the rule of equality in 
rights and duties. Each colonist was to carve out his own 
path, to work for himself Mutual assistance could only 
have been accorded by the principle of association, and 
not by that of any obligation deriving from social inferior- 


ity. The first commune or village was composed of equals, 
socially and politically. From such a germ the whole 
society was developed. No masters -nor lords obliged 
others to work for them and obey. Neither the func- 
tions in the community, nor the economic occupations, 
pursuits, labors, separated its members into different classes 
or stamped them with inferiority or superiority. All were 
equally necessary, useful, and therefore honorable ; pulpit, 
office, trade, artisan, workman, daily laborer, were equal, 
closely interwoven and connected with each other. A log 
cabin was their original abode, was the common cradle. 

The old and the new society are as two streams issuing 
from two wholly different sources. And in their whole 
course the original difference maintains itself and prevails. 

The states of antiquity all began, as Cicero justly says, 
under the kingly form of government. The king or hero 
founded and ruled a city ; the city was the state ; time, 
events, revolutions, transformed cities into republics. 
America began in settlements, in cottages, in townships and 
villages, and when cities were formed, no social or politi- 
cal privilege elevated their inhabitants above their breth- 
ren in the country. Modern Europe at the outset bris- 
tled with menacing towers, strongholds and castles, over- 
awing the ancient cities, the ancient civilization. Shad- 
owed by the banner of the all-powerful lord, the boroughs, 
the villages and hamlets filled with serfs and slaves, 
crawled timorously before him. The church, the curate, 
the parish, leaned against the walls and battlements of the 
stronghold, and the helmeted lord was the founder and 
protector of the house of God. A school for master or 
serfs was not thought of. 

A church or meeting-house, a school, a common hall, 
formed the hearthstones of the first American settlements, 
cementing, enlivening the log cabin, the cottage, the vil- 



lage, the township. In all this there was no germ, no ba- 
sis, no fuel for an aristocracy. No special privileges or 
liberties to localities or cities, no corporations, guilds, han- 
dicrafts, or any such subdivisions, classified the population, 
creating interests opposed and hostile to each other. The 
embryo of the future State and nation was unadulterated 
by any of the antiquated elements which prevailed in the 
social and political composition of Europe. Not a tradi- 
tion, but a broad principle was sown in the American soil. 

Charters were granted by English kings. But they 
did not create any special privileges for special localities, 
or bestow certain rights upon a small number of inhabit- 
ants ; they related to the colony at large, embraced its 
whole population. The proprietors of certain large grants, 
as Baltimore, for example, followed by conviction or ne- 
cessity the general impulse — as they would not have found 
settlers if j)rivilege for some of them had been substituted 
for general democratic equality. Penn realized the purest 
conception of spiritual and social fraternity, and not out of 
such germs could grow and unfold the creeds of privilege. 

Air aristocracies have germinated under royalties, 
which they have subsequently overthrown, stepping into 
their place. Such was the origin of almost all the repub- 
lics of the old world. Warfare has been the life-giving ele- 
ment of all societies ; it was the source, the nursery of 
aristocracies. The better armed man, the possessor of a 
horse, were the principal founders in Greece and Borne. 
Not for war and conquest, but for peace, agriculture, in- 
dustry and commerce, did the primitive settlers, the colo- 
nists, provide themselves with arms. War and strifes 
with Indians, or the warring in the interests of the mother 
country, were accidental and accessory events, and not in 
view of them were founded and organized the various co- 
lonial communities. After the cities of Europe had be- 



come successively chartered, enfranchised, or had fought out 
their liberties, the mass of the people still remained in 
fetters. The immense majority of the European popula- 
tion was deprived of rights, deprived of every pulsation 
of political existence. So the burghers formed a third or 
a middle class between the nobility or aristocracy, and 
the villeins or the rural populations. Here in America, 
there was no above and no below, and thus no distinct 
invested or innate rights of one above the other. And for 
the same reasons that America at the start had not the 
germs of an aristocracy, there did not exist any elements 
to constitute a genuine political middle class, burghers or 
bourgeoisie ; a class so preponderating and influential in 
the historical throes of Europe. On the contrary, if an 
eminence could in any way have been given to a special 
pursuit or to a special position in the commimity, it must 
have been to that of the agriculturists, the farmers, who 
constituted the villages, those cradles of American society, 
and whose axe and plough hewed out its solid foundations. 
Even the temporary bondmen, after having served out 
their time, became equal to the other colonists in the en- 
joyment of political rights. 

The ancient monarchies and republics, as well as those 
of modern Europe generally, received their organization, 
their laws from one, either a hero, a founder, a king, or a 
lawgiver. Historians, political philosophers, with remark- 
able obstinacy draw therefrom the conclusion, that no 
spontaneity can be ascribed to the masses at large, to hu- 
manity itself. If a whole nation gives up its former settle- 
ments in search for new lands, in the opinion of annalists, 
of philosophers and poets, it is some hero, who, to illus- 
trate his race, starts and founds a new empire. If new 
manners, new customs are established, it is some legislator 
who initiates them ; his fellow-citizens forming only more 



or less malleable materials for the thoughts and the con- 
ceptions of one man. . But to discover, to explain who in 
reality created a new institution, or even a new enterprise, 
it is necessary to consider who were the persons that wanted 
it. To them belongs the first suggestive idea, the deter- 
mination to act, the power of evocation, the largest share 
in the execution. Is fecit cui prodest^ is -an axiom admis- 
sible in history, as it is in justice. The social beginning, 
as well as the successive development and history of this 
country, reintegrates spontaneity to the masses. 

The first regulations and rules for the settlers, upon 
their organizing into a body politic, were the result of mu- 
tual deliberation and consent. Afterwards all colonial 
laws had the same common popular origin, and the same 
spirit acts now. The initiative comes always from the 
people. Not a chief or leader called the first Puritans 
together, and established here the first free communities. 
Washington, who for the sublimity and equipoise of his 
character, stands alone and unrivalled in history, Wash- 
ington did not call the nation into life ; he did not evoke 
the events ; but the colonists arose ; the events brought 
Washington on their waves ; independence was asserted ; 
a nation was born. Washington in his civil career was an 
adviser, a tutor, but not a legislator. Laws in America 
had been hitherto evoked by a necessity felt by the people, 
and were framed in view of such a demand by the people 
themselves. Contrary to all the organic legislations of 
the old, of the European world, laws were not made in 
American communities to correct the abuses of a power, 
to stop oppression exercised by a single ruler, or a class 
over the rest of the nation. Laws were not enacted here, 
evoked by the necessity to limit, circumscribe, or curtail 
the abuses which were called the rights and privileges of a 
portion of the community and State ; laws were not made 



here to protect one class, and are not directed against 
another. They were not imposed either by a class legis- 
lating for its special use and advantage, nor by tribunes 
or Solons, acting in the defence of oppressed masses. The 
laws here have the common consent, because they are 
framed by the common will, urged, evoked by common 
necessity. They did not originate in the attempt to crush 
one class for the benefit of another, and thus they have 
not been looked on or accepted with distrust and hatred, 
as have been most of the laws of the ancient and of the 
modern European world. 

The primitive social and organic seeds of American 
communities were of the purest democratic nature and 
origin. These communities were born democratic ; Euro- 
pean nations gravitate across hardships, toils, frustrated at- 
tempts, towards democracy. For Europe it is a question 
of a social transformation from an antecedent opposite 
state, into a new one. But transformation necessitates 
the dispossession, the annihilation, or destruction of a pre- 
viously existing social form or state. A cardinal differ- 
ence therefore marks and separates the two democracies,— 
the American and the European. The American was at 
the outset, and still remains, constructive ; the European, 
by the force and combination of events, is reduced pre- 
eminently to a destructive action. 

European democracy, in order to breathe freely, to come 
to daylight, to acquire and enjoy rights, was of old, in G-reece 
or Eome, as well as in modern times, forced to uplift, to 
pierce and break through a thick and heavy social crust 
pressing over it. European democracy must question, at- 
tack, break down and destroy her masters and oppressors, 
whatever their name, or their influence. So it was of old, 
so it is now. The space, the soil, as well as the moral 
convictions have been and are occupied by the enemies of 



lier existence, of lier principles. Democracy to get air must 
necessarily destroy the superincumbent structures, clear 
away the rubbish, and thus only is she enabled to act 
freely, and to generate a new social organism. Thus Eu- 
ropean democracy is absolutely, exclusively militant in 
idea, in conception and in action ; in order to be, she 
must be aggressive, or she is nothing. Imperatively, she 
must be born in revolutions. Her present existence and 
action is a whirlwind. She has no clear insight, no clear 
conception of the future. Destruction of what exists, 
what presses upon her, what crowds her out of life, is and 
can only be her fixed purpose. The actual European de- 
mocracy can only prepare the soil for the future ; but 
what structure, what social form shall become inaugura- 
ted, is an enigma to be solved by time. 

In America the democratic elements are normal, and 
no other ever existed or exist now in society. American 
democracy was not born from a social struggle ; it is the 
growth of an original social germination. In America a 
man is born a democrat, and from childhood breathes demo- 
cratic air and sucks in invigorating, constructive democratic 
ideas. In Europe democracy must be taught to the peo- 
ple ; from a theory it must be transformed into a fact. Its 
principles and notions must be explained to those most 
interested ; they must be admonished, aroused from slum- 
ber. The genuine people must be told and taught that 
they are men ; that they have primitive, imprescriptible 
rights ; that they ought to claim and conquer them. Thus 
— in strict appreciation — in Europe the impulse to eman- 
cipate, to inspire self-consciousness into the democratic so- 
cial element, this impulse always comes from above. Ideas 
are to be inoculated, instilled by certain inspired and de- 
voted personalities, originally separated from the masses 
by their education, their pursuits, their mode of life, and 



who as leaders try to penetrate the masses with their ideas 
to raise them, to become one with them. Contrary to 
what prevails in America, democracy in Europe does not 
find its true comprehension within the people, — at the ut- 
most, is only latent. The immense majority of European 
populations are not accustomed to act freely by themselves, 
scarcely even to think about objects intimately connected 
with the sphere, the action of a government. In emer- 
gencies they look right and left for personification, for 
leaders mostly beyond their class, from whom they are to 
receive direction, intuition. The masses must be concen- 
trated, governed in the strictest application of this term, 
even if it is in the name of the democratic principle. 
Events difi'erent in their origin and nature, froni their hav- 
ing been engendered in America, events having their causes 
in a variously combined and complicated past, these preside 
over the destinies of European democracy. At present it 
cannot and ought not to be compared, judged, or a verdict 
issued, according to the strict American standard. 

As has been already stated, American democracy was 
not born amidst the convulsions of a social struggle ; she 
came neither violently, nor painfully and laboriously to 
life, amidst the death rattle of castes, social classes, or po- 
litical parties, warring for opposite and deadly antagonis- 
tic interests. The conditions of its political and social 
existence and activity do not depend on the violent de- 
pression or subjugation of an irreconcilable social enemy. 
The European political writers and statesmen seem not 
clearly to comprehend this primordial character of Ameri- 
can democracy. They seem to confound the purely polit- 
ical nature of internal parties, and their influence on the 
legislative and administrative action and play. For them 
the names of whigs and democrats seem to represent two 
hostile social parties, bent upon the destruction of one 



another. The European publicists do not comprehend 
their issues. The whigs in their judgment represent an 
aristocracy or a conservative party, similar to the same 
party in European States. The party calling itself demo- 
cratic, has alone in th^ir judgment the character of democ- 
racy like that of the European or philosophical concep- 
tion. But neither the question of State rights, nor that 
of strengthening the federal power, nor that of free trade 
or protection, of internal improvements, and others of the 
same purport, on which the two parties dilSer, have the ef- 
fect of changing or deteriorating the constructive demo- 
cratic principle which is common to both. If the strict 
construction of State rights, as claimed by the democratic 
party, may appear to be more in harmony with the pure 
democratic idea, it is only in the form and not in the 
substance itself, for since the organization of these politi- 
cal parties and issues, the so-called whig States have been 
and are more progressive, more absolutely devoted to the 
principles of equality, more averse to arbitrary power, to 
slavery, to all oppression and lawlessness, than are those 
enrolled under the political denomination of democracy. 
All this seems to be misunderstood by European publi- 
cists, and above all by those of France, even by those gen- 
erally belonging to the democratic creed. They cannot 
discriminate between democracy, as the name of a politi- 
cal party, and democracy as the only social constructive 
element in American communities. Those well-inten- 
tioned writers repeatedly implore and exclaim. Might de- 
mocracy only not he oppressive of the minority. In 
their appreciation, this presumed minority is the relic of a 
caste or of a class dispossessed of power, averse and hos- 
tile to democratic elements, to democratic institutions. 
They suppose, therefore, that the party which holds the 
reins of legislative and administrative power, has nothing 



SO much at heart as to legally oppress the minority, to 
avenge ancient social wrongs, to disable the dispossessed 
from doing any mischief in the future. But as there does 
not exist in the American social state any such stratum to- 
be absorbed, destroyed, or even to be hemmed in, the 
enacted laws cannot under any circumstances have such a 
coercive and personal aim. The laws are made for gen- 
eral needs and interests, without any reference to par- 
ties, and democrats and whigs are equally bound by them. 
Finally, if a legislative oppression has followed and results 
from the struggles and frictions of the two political parties, 
it was by the force of a well concentrated organization, that 
the democratic or slavery-sustaining minority enacted laws 
distasteful, repulsive to the humane, honest and generous 
feelings of the immense majority of the American people. 
In general, the application of the name of democratic to 
the political party known under that term in America, is 
a monstrous misnomer. 

The divergencies between the modes of the European 
and American democracies are cardinal, — divergencies re* 
suiting from different circumstances and events. Although 
the essence is alike, and the aims to secure the happiness 
and the enjoyment of inborn rights to every individual 
are the same, they differ now, and very likely will differ 
in the future, with regard to the methods which the Euro- 
pean democracy will be obliged to adopt and try succes- 
sively, previous to becoming a fixed social fact. 

It is amidst the revolutions and changes to be effected in 
the foundation of society, that the democracy in Europe 
can alone make its way. She must assail, and the assailed 
will make, step by step, the sturdiest resistance. The Eu- 
ropean democracy is and will be opposed in the field of 
facts and in the region of ideas, of convictions. She must 
meet physical, mental and moral enemies with at least 



equal if not superior weapons. The struggle or revolution 
out of which the American nation was born, was of a dif- 
ferent character, as was, is, and will be that of European 
revolutions. Comparisons are continually made between 
the American war of independence and the French revo- 
lution, as the representative of all European revolutions ; 
but when impartially examined, the terms of both those 
events are to such an extent of a different kind, that in 
justice such comparisons ought not to be started. 

A whole social order was to be unhinged in France, as 
it is to be unhinged in Europe. The American colonies 
rose principally against administrative oppression, and the 
injustice of a royal government, incited, supported by the 
parliamentary pride and the omnipotence of the mother 
country, unwilling to concede to the colonists certain po- 
litical rights which bore principally on their participation in 
the internal administration of the finances and the right 
of taxation. It was a contest between nearly the whole 
colonial population and a government denying to it certain 
rights that were enjoyed by the rest of the English nation. 
It ended not in changing the internal social state of the col- 
onies, but in constituting them an externally independent na- 
tion. It was not an upheaval from below, a rising against 
domestic oppression, exercised by castes armed cap-a-pie, 
in privileges and exemptions. The colonists took up arms, 
not for the purpose of overthrowing such a privileged class, 
or avenging hereditary wrongs, which had crushed them 
for long centuries. George III., after all, was the ex- 
pression and the agent of the majority of parliament, 
without which his government would have been unable to 
enact the stamp duties, or levy war on the colonies. There 
existed in the colonies no obnoxious aristocracy, whose 
head was the king. Democracy was already socially and le- 
gally established in the colonies, when the war burst forth. 



It was the normal state. With the exception of the finan- 
cial questions, the colonies enjoyed the benefits of self- 
government. The American tories who preferred depend- 
ence on the mother country, to forming a distinct nation, 
did not enjoy any distinct social position which raised 
them above the rest of the citizens. When the colonies 
became a nation, the democratic principle, which was in- 
herent in them, acquired more fulness and expansion. It 
acquired space to manifest its miraculous, creative, or- 
ganizing and constitutive qualities, but it was not the re- 
sult of the revolutionary war. The pre-existent demo- 
cratic institutions alone secured the final success of the 
war, and without their pre-existence, most probably a new 
nation would not have risen on the horizon of history. 
In one word, the American revolution was made to pre- 
serve, secure, sustain, to give more air and space to a 
democratic element which was already active, and not to 
evoke it from nothingness to life. 

France was externally an independent nation. Inter- 
nally it was subdivided into social classes, and the genuine 
people, the masses were crushed by those centennial super- 
positions. The people were to be disenthralled, reinte-^ 
grated in its imprescriptible rights. Castes and privi- 
leges were to be destroyed and disappear. The problem 
was to erect a new social structure on the spot occupied 
by the ancient one. Democracy, that is, the people, was 
to assert its social and political rights and existence. It 
could not do this otherwise than by breaking the massive 
superpositions which pressed it down. The king was at- 
tacked and destroyed, not for any special arbitrary meas- 
ure or vexation, but as representing an odious principle, 
as being the keystone of an edifice, the head of a social 
order, against which were directed the efforts of the dem- 
ocratic element. Euins and rubbish were to be cleared 


away, as impeding the new organization. Centuries had 
accumulated these structures and privileges, beneath which 
lay compressed a mass of explosive forces. They strug- 
gled for life and daylight until the moment of explosion 

The ideas which prepared the French revolution, were 
already in fermentation for a long time previous to the 
American revolution. The ideas of the 18th century, of 
which France was the principal laboratory, acted even on 
the colonies, on the principal men of the American revolu- 
tionary epoch, stimulated their ardor, and gave, to a cer- 
tain degree, a consecration to the democratic ideas already 
transformed into facts in the colonies. Revolutionary 
ideas had been brooding in France, in the public mind, in 
philosophy, in literature, previous to any revolutionary 
manifestations in America. And this must have been so, 
as all these ideas were directed against social oppression, 
against castes and classes, evils of which the colonists 
could not complain. E-ousseau was the boldest and most 
earnest revealer of the new era, and his voice resounded 
in the minds, in the hearts of the masses of the people. 
The American struggle and success laid the sparks to the 
mine, accelerated explosion ; but undoubtedly the explo- 
sion would have occurred even without the previous eman- 
cipation of the country. The declaration of rights made 
by the American Congress, to be sure, will remain for 
ever in the history of humanity, as the most luminous and 
sublime inauguration of a new era ; as the first social as- 
sertion of Christian civilization. It vibrated in France, 
because the people were partly, at least, prepared for the 
work of regeneration. 

The impediments to overpowering their enemies which 
the two revolutions had to combat, were likewise of a dif- 
ferent kind. The struggle, the energy, the exasperation, 



the mode of destroying their enemieSj must have necessa- 
rily differed in the two countries. In America, the whole 
contest was almost entirely reduced to a purely military 
strife. It was an invading enemy which was to be repelled. 
In France the object was to upturn a whole existing social 
order, which had been taking root for centuries. The 
French revolution therefore must have taken a bloody and 
destructive course. In America, the enemy was only on 
the battle-fields. Arrayed as an army in France, he was 
in the pre-existing institutions ; he had hold of all the po- 
sitions ; he covered the land ; he possessed physical and 
mental power and influence. He was to be ferreted out 
in all his windings, and destroyed. If the English sol- 
dier, representing the power of England, was justly shot, 
destroyed as the tool of oppression, as an impediment in 
the way of national development, how much more danger- 
ous to the French people were royalty, nobility and priest- 
hood ! Their existence rendered any new social order im- 
possible ; their destruction was therefore a fatal necessity. 
The mode of warfare must therefore have been different 
in America and in France, as it will be in every European 
nation which shall strike for regeneration. Hence the 
comparison between the mildness of the American revo- 
lution, and the bloody violence of the French is not just. 
They had different enemies to destroy, and were obliged 
to make use of different means and weapons. What 
in America was the rifle, in France was the guillotine. 
The purport of the American revolution was at the out- 
set misunderstood in Europe. No social danger, at least 
no immediate one, for the old order of things, for roy- 
alty and aristocracy, was anticipated by those who were 
the most interested in the event. Kings and aristocrats 
throughout nearly the whole of Europe, applauded heartily 
the eflbrts of the colonists. They saw therein only the 



means to weaken, to reduce the overbearing English na- 
tion. But at the first move in France, old Europe was 
shaken. The news of the convocation of notables in 
1787, was received with rage by all those who rejoiced at 
the proclamation of American independence. 

Previous to the war of independence, the American 
communities had already begun to develope within them- 
selves the absolute principles of a superior social organi- 
zation, and in this respect they had surpassed the English, 
then the only European nation enjoying liberal institu- 
tions. If the germs of such institutions were brought by 
the colonists to America, they became refreshed in the 
democratic essence which filled the minds of the Puritans. 
They grew vigorously, and with more fulness than they 
ever could have done in the old world. No historical asso- 
ciations adulterated them ; no social privileged excrescences 
impeded or distorted their growth. The Magna Charta, 
the Bill of Bights, was rather the offspring of oppressed 
and injured interests, and by no means an assertion of ab- 
solute rights. It was made to correct certain abuses, and 
to render their repetition difficult or impossible. The 
Magna Charta is a transaction between king and nation, 
evoked by previous acts of arbitrary power ; it was called 
out by grievances, and thus may be considered to a certain 
extent as accidental in its nature, since, without grievances, 
there could not have been a Magna Charta. This acci- 
dental character is preserved in the successive development 
of the English constitution throughout centuries. The 
initiative comes not from a broad principle, but from a 
wrong previously experienced, to prevent which for the 
future, is the aim of the constitution. It is an uninter- 
rupted compromising with various interests, a strain of 
concessions, compacts and checks. 

In America, at the outset, with the first cry of life 



by the colonies, the broad, absolute principle was asserted^ 
and from it the laws, the institutions, the legal and politi- 
cal habits were deduced and developed. The body of lib- 
erties for Massachusetts, as the mould wherein have been 
successively cast all the institutions and constitutions of 
the American states and communities, and of the Ameri- 
can nation ; this body of liberty ascends immediately to 
the fountain head of social life. In 1641 the colonists 
enact for the' fruition of such liberties, immunities and 
privileges as humanity^ civilization and Christianity 
regard as due to every man, etc. The English Magna 
Charta does not embrace the people, but speaks of kings, 
lords, bishops, knights, commons, leaving the mass of the 
people without laws or security. The colonial body of 
liberties asserts the principle of freedom and equality in 
every man. The Magna Charta and the English consti- 
tution is rather a pact concluded in a business-like man- 
ner, and for special purposes. The Massachusetts bill 
treats all the business objects as deriving from principles. 
And thus the colonists led the van before England, in 
many special enactments and measures concerning the per- 
sonal liberties of individuals, and the private interests of 
the community. Thus the liberation of heritages and 
lands from fines and from all governmental exactions, as 
wardships, liveries, etc., was established twenty years be- 
fore the like was done in England under Charles II. The 
right of petition and remonstrance was guaranteed in 
America nearly half a century before it was thought of in 
England. The guarantee of personal liberty, as embodied 
in the habeas corpus, this highest pride and costliest jewel 
of free institutions, was established in America forty years 
before the act was promulgated in England. The right 
of a person charged with a capital offence, to have counsel 
aside from the simple discussion of points of law, was re- 



cognized to the accused in New England more than a cen- 
tury before it was admitted into English courts. 

Various ameliorations respecting juries were introduced 
independently of the influence of the mother country. 
More than two centuries ago the position of the wife, of 
the widow was secured by the law ; the wife was sheltered 
from domestic tyranny, while the English law scarcely be- 
gins even now to humanize its statutes in this respect. So 
also were recognized the rights and claims of children. 
The G-erman, Saxon, English and feudal right of primogeni- 
ture was eliminated at the outset in the colonial legisla- 
tions ; and aristocratic longings — if there were any — were 
nipped in the bud. Daughters inherit with the sons as 
copartners, while the English law scarcely and exception- 
ally preserves them a parcel only in the inheritance. 

All these rights and guarantees, constituting a supe- 
rior social and legislative organization, emanated exclu- 
sively from the spirit which at that time already animated 
the colonists. This spirit descended upon them, not from 
their connection with the mother country, not from alSinity 
of blood, but from the essence of absolute social truth. 
Animated by it, the colonies, previous to becoming a na- 
tion — above all, those of New England — elaborated higher 
solutions to great social and legislative problems. The 
above-mentioned guarantees and laws are therefore of gen- 
uine American origin. They evolved from new and purer 
conceptions, new events, new combinations. At that time 
England did not give, but received the impulse from the 
colonies, where the rights of man were recognized as being 
the paramount social agencies. The English constitu- 
tional laws, born out of special exigencies and complica- 
tions, were mostly framed and conceived by statesmen, 
clergy, legists ; the colonial domestic rules were made 
chiefly by simple-hearted men, inexperienced, unlearned 



in legislation or statesmanship, but whose minds and hearts 
had been warmed by pure humanity and civilization. Men 
who deduced rights not from precedents and parchments, 
but from the ever-pouring fountain of the better human 
nature. Only true democracy developes in man those 
transcendent and vigorous mental capacities and qualities, 
on which depend the progressive destinies of communities, 
of nations and of the human race. 

The colonies became a nation. Democracy, which 
lighted and warmed their domestic hearth, became a lu- 
minous phenomenon in the world's history. Independence 
gave it a new impulse, opened a broader horizon, and se- 
cured henceforth its untrammelled and, full action in all 
directions. Independence completed and perfected the 
primitive elementary condition. 

What was germinating in secluded and quiet domesti- 
city, became developed in mighty social and political in- 
stitutions. A new and complete polity— the child of new 
events — and hitherto unparalleled in history, began to ex- 
pand outwardly. By the assertion and establishment of 
democracy in substance and in definitive governmental 
forms, the comprehension of the relations of men to each 
other, of the individual to the state — the comprehension of 
his social standing and rights, of his political rights and 
duties, acquired a clearness and vastness hitherto unpre- 
cedented. In the states of antiquity, in those of Christian 
Europe, the individual was considered as existing exclu- 
sively for the benefit of the state, or for that of the power 
or powers which held and embodied it ; in America, for 
the first time, a state and states were formed for securing 
the happiness of the individuals. 

The colonies struck for independence, because nearly 
all the previously existing conditions of their existence 
were endangered. Charters and privileges that had been 



once granted by the royal power, and were now violated or 
annulled, together with certain guarantees of the mode of 
the internal government, embraced and secured the main 
conditions of colonial existence. The colonies, principally, 
nay exclusively, pivoted on labor. The whole colonial 
population was in principle and in fact a productive one. 
Assiduous application to labor, to enterprise, to industry, 
to business of every nature, and security for what was 
thus acquired, formed the essential and paramount terms 
which constituted the individual as well as the integral 
existence in the colonies. Labor was the only way of be- 
ing useful to oneself and to the community. Privileged 
social drones could not subsist in communities, which 
started in life in the manner of the American colonies. 
It was therefore not the privilege of unproductive con- 
sumption, of useless unoccupied existence, which was to be 
defended against the encroachments of power. It was thB 
emancipation of labor and of its products from fiscal and 
arbitrary control, from lawless oppression and political 
disregard, which necessarily formed one of the principal 
purposes in the rising for independence. It can therefore 
be asserted, that the condition of labor was at the bottom 
of the various causes of the revolution. Mental and 
physical labor became finally and positively ennobled. All 
who took up arms were exclusively laborers of various 
kinds, and the revolution was to emancipate labor. This 
aim was the natural result of pre-existent causes ; it was 
contained in their essence. Labor is the soul of a democ- 
racy ; it is the cardinal agency of progress and civiliza- 
tion ; it is the most binding cement of every solid and ra- 
tional social structure. 

The principles laid down by the American people at 
the foundation of their political systems and constitutions 
are for tlie most part simple and therefore elastic and all-em- 



bracing. Such also are human rights ; they are one and 
the same for the whole human family. The American 
constitutions do not take cognizance of artificial rights and 
positions, and do not need them for their practical opera- 
tion. They are not based on certain interests at war with 
certain others, all of which are to be perpetually adjusted, 
equilibrated, kept in check, and which continually threaten ^ 
to encroach upon, to overboil, or to break through the 
artificial boundaries surrounding them. American con- 
stitutions do not recognize or relate to abuses or privileges 
embodied in a few, and thus they neither create nor con- 
firm abnormal situations, antagonistic to the interests of the 
majority of the population. For nearly half a century, 
several European nations have attempted and still attempt 
to implant, acclimatize, and adapt the English constitution, 
considered as the model for every European liberal gov- 
ernment. All those attempts have ended and still end in 
failures. This is as it ought to be. The English Consti- 
tution is a special home-grown product. In order to pros- 
per, it needs certain special conditions of the soil. It 
cannot operate with ease, without certain distinct, separate 
social bodies or classes ; it must have at least three springs 
or social powers, acting on, attracting, and at times repelling 
each other. The Constitution is rooted in the life, in the 
notions, in the habits of the English people, of whom an 
immense majority, for instance, look with as much pride 
on royalty, and above all on the parks, the castles and their 
inmates, as could possibly be done by the lords themselves. 
The Constitution grew up line by line, step by step with 
the nation and its various evolutions ; it forms therefore a 
necessary complement in the existence of every English- 
man. It is an edifice to whose erection each century 
contributed bricks and mortar, whose partitions were built 
one by one according to the exigencies of the moment, in 



whose windings generations grow up, and every Englishman 
finds himself at ease. But for other nations such circum- 
stances and conditions no longer exist. The internal con- 
ditions are different, and the English frame never can be 
adjusted to them. At times too narrow, at times too loose, 
this frame hurts here and there, and neither royalties, aris- 
tocracies, nor the common people which compose the Con- 
tinental nations, understand how to move and operate 
therein. Moreover, the spirit of a new age breathes 
over the European nations. Their dim aspirations are for 
a future, wholly unconnected with the past, their efforts 
are directed to getting rid of those centurial encumbrances. 
The European nations are every where undermining the 
ancient structure, with its compounds of royalty and aris- 
tocracy. These exist as material facts, but they have lost 
all hold over ideas, convictions. Eoyalty, aristocracy 
have no faith in themselves but only in brute force. They 
are rotten, decayed to the core. And such is 'the substance 
of the two principal ingredients which are expected to give 
vitality to the Anglo-European constitutional system. 

On the other hand, the xVmerican constitutions, simple 
and uncomplicated as are vigor and health, can be safely 
imitated in substance, and applied to every nation. They 
embrace uniformly all social conditions, and do not need 
artificial supports. Every individual, rich or poor, can 
live with ease, untrammelled in his pursuits, according to 
his inward impulses, his nature and his choice. Democra- 
cy does not deny to any body his human inborn rights ; 
all enjoy them equally, all are amenable to the same equal 
laws. The American constitutions procure and bestow 
the greatest possible freedom and space to each individu- 
ality. The American people, the American democrat, the 
American citizen enjoys individually more freedom, secu- 
rity and power than is pos-siblc in the best fenced aristoc- 



racy, wliiclij on account of its abnormal condition, and of 
its constituent privileges, must always be on the alert, al- 
ways on the defensive, always prepared to repel an assault, 
or to carry one out. 

For the first time in history, the democratic principle, 
m full growth and purity, became embodied in the Ameri- 
can commonwealth. For the first time society and states 
were born, became developed, and exist and operate with 
uniform, simple and normal social elements. A past did 
not transmit to them any dusty relics, but only those eter- 
nal, indestructible ideas which constitute the moral life, the 
civilization, the progress and the happiness of men. All 
the ancient and European republics, when compared with 
the American, can be considered only as outbursts, as at- 
tempts on behalf of social and political freedom, as indi- 
cations that the democratic principle is at the bottom of 
the destinies of the human race. The ancient republics 
at the best were only the forerunners of a new and com- 
plete initiation. Not even the brilliant Athenian democ- 
racy was a pure realization of the principle. Its origin 
was already adulterated. The Athenian democracy 
wrested life and power from the aristocracy, which re- 
mained among the constitutive elements of the republic, 
with the exclusive tendency to destroy democracy. The 
origin of all Christian republics was similar to that of the 
republics of classical times. Nowhere were republics be- 
gotten by democracy. The so-called Florentine democ- 
racy was born and operated under conditions similar to 
those of=.*the Athenians. It came not from the people ; it 
started in opposition to a pre-existent power, and was 
amalgamated, and even directed, organized by the Guelfs, 
who were no less nobles than the Ghibellins. All the 
past republics limited the exercise of political rights by 
privilege and exclusion. Liberty in Europe had never 



equality for her parent, was always surrounded with grad- 
uations and modifications. The use of political rights 
was always only a privilege ; in America for the first time 
it was an inborn right, a social duty. 

The privilege was lodged in cities, and then in corpora- 
tions and guilds. Cities established republics over the 
world, and as such ruled over the land or country. Who- 
ever was outside of the walls of the municipality, did not 
participate in the privilege of exercising political rights, 
enjoyed no sovereignty. In America at the outset, liberty 
was a right settled in the individual, not in the locality. 
The rights accompanied the man. Wherever he put his 
foot, he bestowed them on the soil ; carried and spread 
them over the land ; and equal rights dwelt in a log cabin, 
as well as within the walls of a city. The American re- 
publics have no privileged central power to rule over the 
rest ; wherever the people meet for deliberating and de- 
ciding, there was and is the centre. 

As has been often mentioned, the cities began the 
movement for emancipation in Europe. It was therefore 
a privileged spot, a privileged class that acted, and not a 
whole people. Cities and corporations led in the war, and 
bore the principal brunt of the struggle. The three prim- 
itive cantons of Swiss, Uri, Schwytz, Unterwalden, make an 
exception. In all the other cantons, the cities represented 
the republican power. In Holland, the cities struggled 
against the bloody tyranny of Philip II. And only cities 
in the past were enabled to rise. They were the only reg- 
ularly constituted organic bodies, when the country, the 
peasantry was in vassalage, serfdom and dependence, with- 
out any rights, without any means of combination. No- 
where existed a democracy, and the popular element was 
seldom and feebly represented in cities. In the Dutch 
Republic the supreme power was not in the people at 



large, not in the States Greneral, nor in any kind of 
Congress ; nor in the legislatures of states or provinces, 
but in cities. And again, in those cities the power was 
not in the whole community, but in the hands of a local, 
closely corporated supreme aristocracy. These condi- 
tions were the consequences of historical causes, of a spe- 
cial concourse of events. The cities conquered fran- 
chises and certain political liberties, principally by strug- 
gles with the knighted aristocracy or nobility. After hav- 
ing subdued the nobles, the burghers imitated their laws 
and habits. Liberty was not based on natural primitive 
rights, but only a part took possession by force and en- 
joyed it. The rural populations, the laborers, the work- 
ing men were regarded by the burghers with nearly as 
much pride and disdain, as they were once regarded by 
the nobles. The burghers never thought of sharing politi- 
cal and social rights equally with the people. It can be 
said that all these republics were a modified feudality. 
Against those privileges of the burgher class, the people, 
who were excluded therefrom, revolted. Thus in Holland, 
under the son of William the Silent, and in Switzerland, 
in the course of the present century. With all his civic 
virtues Barnavelt of Holland was the champion of the 
burgher class, of the burgher privileges. 

Humanity and democracy are one and the same con- 
ception. If man is the image of Grod, then the divine 
emanation animates not a certain few, but all ; thus men 
are equal, and have absolutely equal rights, equal destinies. 
In whatever way their functions may differ, in the all- 
embracing association and combination of various activities 
and interests, their virtual condition, their dignity and rights 
as men are not thereby affected or altered. In the whole 
creation every thing is submitted to general laws ; their 
various combinations constitute certain differences, but no- 



where is to Ibe found a privilege raising any created being 
above the action of general laws. Nothing privileged ex- 
ists in nature, and all its forces, essences and elements are 
for the use of all her creatures, according to the special 
conditions of their existence. The inspirations of genius, 
that sublime force which raises the mind and opens the se- 
crets of the creation, these inspirations or discoveries are 
beneficial, and become the property of the whole race of 
mankind. Genius does not limit its creative action to 
the benefit of some privileged few, and thus its pure na- 
ture is therefore democratic or all-embracing. 

The history of the culture of our race bears evidence 
of the unrivalled superiority of the workings of democ- 
racy. Democratic was the social and political organiza- 
tion of the Hebrew tribe, and it accordingly overrode time. 
The Hebrew law still exists. Among the ruins of forty 
centuries it still has life. No other social organization re- 
lating to things, castes and classes, has reached us so vital 
and indestructible. 

Athens eternizes the blossom of the Grecian civili- 
zation. Without Athens, Greece would have been over- 
powered and subdued by Persian kings. She would have 
been ruled by satraps or dynasts, as were the Grecian 
cities in Asia. Not the spirit of oligarchical Sparta, but 
that of democratic Athens saved Greece. Democratic 
Athens gave the lofty and unlimited expansion to the 
Greek mind ; it enkindled a light which shall radiate for 
eternities. The Athenian democracy, during its brief ex- 
istence, works more in the development of the spirit of our 
race, than the most dazzling reigns of monarchy, than all 
the monuments erected by them — dead stones in the path 
of nations. 

"What remains from the conquests and victories of 
Rome ? The gigantic republicf the more gigantic empire, 



is a heap of mould and dust. But the Roman civil law is 
still a living fountain of jurisprudence. And the Roman 
law is the product, not of the rugged, inflexible and nar- 
row spirit of the patricians, but its clearness, its omniper- 
cipience are due to the accession of the plebeian or the 
democratic element, to the full citizenship of Rome. 

All-embracing, all-ekvating Christianity can only re- 
ceive its completion in democracy. Christ teaches that 
all are equal before Grod. The Grospel is spiritual democ- 
racy. But the spirit realizes itself in social forms. These 
must be of an adequate kind. There ought not to subsist 
an antagonism between the outward world and the spirit- 
ual one. If Christ left untouched the political and posi- 
tive social relations, it was because he was to regenerate 
the internal, the spiritual man. This accomplished, the 
regeneration of social relations was to be made by man 
himself, in harmony with the moral truth, which had been 
revealed to him. 

Among the greatest deeds in history, we must count 
those in which a whole people or populations, exalted by 
terrible emergencies, have risen to action, repelled inva- 
sions, or in the defence of the domestic hearth, of a country 
or city, in defence of conscientious convictions or of faith, 
have cheerfully sacrificed life, families and earthly goods. 
The people, generally deprived of their rights, and not 
enjoying any privileges, have more than once in history 
saved their rulers, their oppressors, who appealed to them 
imploringly. And these oppressed masses every where 
constitute the unadulterated democratic element, redeem- 
ing the faults of their oppressors. 

Europe, however slowly, gravitates towards democracy. 
No cavils and objections can arrest the movement. The 
Anglo-European constitutional forms of government, with 
all their deficiencies and .shortcomings, are after all the 



first initiatory steps. These constitutional governments 
continually raise the bolts and admit more and more from 
the people to the enjoyment of political rights. Popular 
education, although in a wretched state among the im- 
mense majority of European populations, nevertheless stirs 
up the mind and creates longings for the amelioration of 
the political organism. The increase and the more equal 
distribution of material prosperity, awakens self-conscious- 
ness in the masses. Large communities and nations slowly 
but uninterruptedly become more and more intelligent. 
And even Aristotle, not at all friendly to democracy, who 
witnessed the decay of the Athenian one, nevertheless 
concluded that when communities become very large, it is 
perhaps difficult for any other than a democratic commu- 
nity to exist. Lord Brougham prophesied that the Eng- 
lish monarchy must end in democracy and a republic. 
Enemies pay homage to democracy, dreading its advent, 
and nevertheless recognize its all-powerful, creative vital- 
ity. So does Guizot, Thiers, Montalembert, Balmes, and 
others ; even so do the kiogs, who set themselves up as 
representatives and defenders of the rights of the people. 

The freshest and most recent despotism, that of Na- 
poleon IIL, is in its way a recognition of the democratic 
principle as paramount to all others. Louis Napoleon 
recognizes and tells to the French people, that he holds 
the power, not by legitimacy, not by thg grace of God, but 
by the popular choice, by the popular will. Thus, not- 
withstanding the political oppression, the chaining of all 
kinds of liberties — of which the masses of the people en- 
joyed less than the burgher class — these masses become 
accustomed to consider themselves as the source of power, 
as the social kernel. This is what is principally wanting, 
and hence, even this degrading despotism can after all be 
considered as a social and democratic progress. It is a 



mental schooling of the people at large, and however vi- 
cious and defective it may be, it is better than nothing. 
So in learning the rudiments of reading, even a bad 
schoolmaster is preferable to none, and a vicious spelling 
is more satisfactory than total ignorance. At any rate the 
idea is stirred up, the impulse is given, and the people at 
large become familiar with the regular operation of the in- 
stitution, even in its present falsified state. The people 
will no more be dispossessed of the notion, and a short 
time will teach them to handle the power more thoroughly 
and normally, and hence more efficaciously. 

Thiis in Europe democracy is a rising tide. It rises 
slowly but uninterruptedly. It overflows, carrying away, 
one after another, the barriers and impediments erected to 
arrest or suppress it. It is not organized, not construc- 
tive ; it tears every thing down ; it has hitherto been a black 
tornado, approaching nearer and nearer, but its final out- 
burst will be terrific. The fears, as well as the concessions 
of its most inveterate enemies are the best evidences of 
the all-powerful working of the democratic principle, of 
its eternal right, of its incontestable supremacy. Rulers 
and partisans of the right divine, of exemptions and priv- 
ileges, speak continually of the just claims of the people, 
of necessary concessions to the spirit of the age, and other 
similar objects — all of them satisfactions given to the dem- 
ocratic principle. All this is a first vacillating step, bat 
by the invariable laws of logic and dynamics, the next 
must follow. Customs, manners, social pursuits, level 
conditions, bring men together and mix them continually. 
The means of mental development and culture are daily 
enlarged in Europe, and are accessible without distinction. 
Not difference of birth, but poverty shuts any person out 
frcrm using and being benefited by them. True it is that 
notwithstanding all this, the past with most of its niches, 



hooks, social compartments, stands there upright, over- 
shadows and impedes a healthy, normal growth. But this 
past no longer fructifies European life, and its representa- 
tives are useless to themselves and to society. So the 
centennial oak of the forest, eaten up at the heart, barren 
andjeafiess, overtops the new and vigorous vegetation. 
But its branches, its roots are dead, storms break them 
away, and finally the giant falls, uprooted and prostrate. 

For ages democracy has been variously assailed as a 
principle, as a civilizing and social agency, as a political and 
governmental institution. No cavils have been spared 
against her. All social evils are attributed to her. Since 
the establishment of the American commonwealth, the old 
flaws are diligently reproduced, and large telescopes and 
highly powerful microscopes are directed for the purpose 
of discovering new ones. These accusations are as diver- 
sified as the human passions, and the perpetrators of them 
now as in all times, in all epochs, belong to the class or 
political party dispossessed of power by the democracy. 

Among the foremost reproaches brought against de- 
mocracy, is that of instability in political and social institu- 
tions ; instability in aims, workings, and ways. Democracy 
is represented as destitute of all respect or veneration for 
time-hallowed axioms, theories, institutions. But insta- 
bility and not veneration of the past, not deference to 
opinions, to facts, and to results of difi'erent conditions : 
instability is the principal agency and condition of pro- 
gress and of development. Nature is an eternal creation, 
life and motion. The embryo, the kernel, throw away 
their first shapes and forms, put on another, and are unin- 
terruptedly in a process of* transformation. What logical 
or moral reason or right has the past which is a corpse, to 
fetter the life, the motion, the activity of the present ? 
What right have defunct generations which lived, moved, 



acted, amidst certain different circumstances, impulses and 
exigences, to tie and enchain those succeeding them, and 
placed or thrown in conditions new and diverse ? Nearly 
every scientific progress or discovery is made under the 
law of instability. If the existing conceptions on all sci- 
entific subjects had been religiously upheld and maintained, 
all the immense developments which have so rapidly suc- 
ceeded each other, would have become utterly impossible. 
Why should social and political institutions and forms 
alone constitute an exception ? or by what obligations are 
the successors made to wear forcibly the gear of those who 
lived before them ? America shows in its rapid progress, 
in its wonderful development, that man can successfully 
upturn and erect, destroy and construct, and that mate- 
rially and socially, new edifices, as new institutions adapt 
themselves easier to men, assure his power over nature, 
develope the resources of the soil, and render it more fit 
for the comfortable support of life. Every generation has 
the right to build up its own dwelling. Old edifices and 
castles are admirable to look at, but generally uncomforta- 
ble to live in. They do not answer to a changed or modi- 
fied condition of life, to new notions, habits, occupations. 
Modern existence, modern generations require air and 
light in streams. In the same way it is more considerate, 
from the financial and economical stand-point to invest less 
capital in walls, and not construct them for centuries. A 
house, an edifice might be constructed at the cost of one 
hundred or fifty dollars, and be equally suitable, substan- 
tial, and adapted to the principal purpose. The one might 
last centuries, the other a few decades. But the surplus 
of the cost economized on the second building, can be in- 
vested in a productive way, and enable the next successor 
to build with it a suitable new house. That built up for 
centuries, deteriorates, loses in value, impoverishes the 



owner, and does not in reality contribute to private or 
public comfort or good. The same to a certain degree is 
the case with social and political institutions. Not that 
every conception, idea or structure of the past should be 
absolutely pushed aside, condemned and declared to be 
useless. There is an uninterrupted chain of mental and 
physical transmission running through and cementing gen- 
erations. But the living one has unlimited power to se- 
lect, to make its own choice, to preserve and reject what it 
judges and recognizes as proper or useless, to live accord- 
ing to its own chances, will and decision. When a life- 
giving, all-embracing and fruitful principle reposes at the 
bottom, when in its development and free action it shapes 
out society, embraces it and penetrates it in all its fibres, 
then the "instability on the surface is neither dangerous nor 
destructive. Instability is the manifestation of health and 
vigor — stimulates man's creative powers. In new mental, 
social and material productions, man constantly attempts 
to reach higher regions, to give more perfect solutions ; to 
improve, embellish his existence, his social and domestic 

Besides, a man born in 1856 is chronologically and 
arithmetically older than one born one thousand or two 
thousand years before him. To call the past the older 
time is logically a misnomer. The present is older than 
the past and wiser too ; it inherits the experience, the dis- 
coveries, the sum of activity of bygone times. Bacon, the 
great utterer of axioms for the concerns of practical and 
every day life, was the first who, with his wonted clearness, 
assigned in this respect to the past its true relation with 
the present. As the result of instability, destructiveness 
is largely put to the account of democracies. It is de- 
clared to be innate with them. So democracies are ac- 
cused of. having by intestine discords accelerated the 



downfall of Athens, Thebes, and other smaller Greek re- 
publics, and in Christian times, of having been the occa- 
sion of the destruction of the Florentine republic. It has 
already been mentioned who are the accusers. The 
storms, the dissensions which beat thus furiously on the 
ancient republics always originated with the aristocratic 
parties attempting to reseize the power. Democracies 
once in normal political motion, that is. when no violent, 
treacherous impediments are thrown in their way, are nei- 
ther vindictive nor aggressive, but elastic, confiding, un- 
suspicious, good-tempered, that is to say, aiming and 
wishing to enjoy life, and let others do likewise. Democ- 
racies in their normal state are the everlasting youth of 
humanity. Such was the Athenian democracy after the 
Persian war, and for years under Pericles. Such to a 
great extent was the Theban under Pelopidas and Epam- 
inondas, and the Florentine without their Medici and their 
Palleschi. Every where the aristocracies conspired, cre- 
ated internal convulsions, stirred up discontent, calum- 
niated, threw all kinds of impediments in the way of the 
regular functions of the republic, betrayed, invoked for- 
eign intervention or influence. Such was the case in 
Greece during the Peloponnesian wars. Democracies have 
never, not on a single occasion, betrayed a country. Cor- 
ruptions have been almost a specialty of oligarchies and 
aristocracies, from Sparta down to our own times. Aris- 
tocracies, not democracies, join invaders and foreign ene- 
mies. Aristocracies create anarchy and bring final de- 
struction. Not the plebeians, but the patricians of Home 
received gold from Jugurtha, and so it has always been in 

Aristocracies have formed and still form always egotisti- 
cal, unsubmissive minorities, usually preferring the destruc- 
tion of the state rather than to submit to the general rule, 



to submit to laws equal for all. Because aristocracies, 
when wielding power, did it for special aims, always prom- 
inently legislating for the good of their class, always di- 
viding the state, the nation, in various antagonistic and 
violently opposed interests. Egotism has been the moving 
soul of monarchies as well as of oligarchic and aristocratic 
communities. Whatever may have been the dark spots, the 
true or artificially projected shadows on democratic commu- 
nities, their political nature makes it impossible to enact 
exclusive special laws for one part of the population, and 
directed against another. Internal disorders and even in- 
testine wars were always provoked by aristocracies, whose 
haughty unprincipled members, always ready to violate 
the laws, to show their contempt for existing power, to 
tread down public and private morality, studiously invoked 
popular animadversion. .Such was the case in Athens and 
Greece, such was the case in Rome. Whatever could hu- 
miliate or exasperate the people, was always perpetrated 
by the patricians, by the Tarquins, as well as by a son or 
grandson of Cincinnatus. Sylla, not Marius, provoked 
domestic war. The same was the case in the Italian re- 
publics ; so in France with the jeunesse doree. In pri- 
vate as well as in public matters, oflfence, provocation, open 
or surreptitious contempt or violation of general laws, have 
nearly always been perpetrated by aristocracies. 

It is generally asserted that all democracies have a pe- 
culiar tendency to identify themselves with a single indi- 
vidual, and thus to become tools in the hands of ambitious 
schemers and intriguers. This is considered as one of the 
most dangerous breakers for the existence of democratic 
states or communities. True it is that to a certain degree 
history justifies these assertions. The few democracies 
which have appeared on the horizon, have been always 
headed by one man, instead of acting self-consciously. But 



in substance, not even tlie thus movable democracy of 
Athens submitted wholly to the leadership of Pericles, 
one among the greatest and purest patriots and statesmen 
on the records of our race. Besides, the origin, as well 
as the character of the few democracies of the past, have 
been such as to lead necessarily to such-like personifica- 
tions. Born from internal tempests, generally with the help 
of some prominent individual, their existence was continu- 
ally tempestuous. A single spot, a single city, agglome- 
rated the whole democratic element ; there was the centre 
of the system. There it performed its functions, always 
in the public place. Attacked, teased, or exasperated by 
the lawlessness, the taunts, the uninterrupted opposition 
of the aristocracy, their deadliest enemies, these democra- 
cies of the past were nearly always in a feverish state. In 
a perpetual and violent struggle for existence, it was diffi- 
cult to reason with calmness, to consider the most vital 
questions in all their relations. Leaders easily got hold of 
a people who felt the necessity of being commanded, for the 
sake of resisting an external enemy, or a still more dan- 
gerous domestic one. There was no public press to bring 
important topics under debate, to enlighten and cool the 
judgment of the masses, concerDing the characters and the 
value of leading personages. In modern democracies, 
especially in that of France, the masses of the people form 
a " rudis indigestaque moles." They have no self-con- 
sciousness, no distinct comprehension of their position, of 
their needs, of their future. For this reason, they submit 
to be headed or embodied in one, whom they trust, as 
knowing their feelings and their wants. They require 
some one to think for them, to act in their behalf, to defend 
them from their enemies. The masses are not accustomed 
to exercise self-government, this most important comple- 
tion of democracy. As was the case with Athens and the 



other ancient democracies, the modern democratic attempts 
in Europe likewise find it necessary to have nurses and 
tutors, to facilitate the first steps on an agitated soil. But 
the American democracy, being of a normal and natural 
self-growth, exercising its functions regularly, covering the 
whole land, and not concentrated in cities, cannot run out 
into an individualization, as did its forerunners. Already 
the press forms a powerful panacea against it. In one 
word, none of the conditions which in other democracies 
either facilitated, or even rendered unavoidable the person- 
ification of democracy in some leader, have existed in the 
American commonwealth. Doubtless, even for the most 
regulated action based on the concurrence and combination 
of such various functions, a kind of head is imperatively 
necessary. Such a standard-bearer — as he is very prop- 
erly named in America — serves rather to rally the various 
scattering forces, but is neither the initiator nor the leader. 
He receives inspiration, impulse, direction, for good or 
bad, from those grouped around him. In other democra- 
cies the ductile masses were animated, vivified, electrified, 
or stimulated by the ideas, and still more by the personal 
forensic influence, by the voice of a passionate patriot, or 
of a daring, gifted, but mischief-brewing politician. So 
Pericles or Demosthenes could move them as quickly in 
a moment of excitement, as could an Alcibiades. Criti- 
cism, discussion, on the broadest scale, are the cardinal 
substances of American public life, and hence sham he- 
roes, and hero worship must in the long run become impos- 

Ingratitude is freely ascribed to republics, above all to 
democracies, to the people. The American common- 
wealth is not exempted from this reproach. But in the 
commonly accepted signification of gratitude and ingrati- 
tude, history shows that monarchies and monarchs arc no 


more grateful than republics. Moreover, in sound philo- 
sophical criticism, the influence of individuals on the des- 
tinies of the world is general, and accordingly does not 
preponderate, as is commonly believed and asserted, on 
those of states and people. The great majority of rulers, 
and of other great and influential men, merely co-operate 
in a movement, which would have probably pursued its 
pre-appointed task as rapidly and as completely as if they 
had never existed. Their work is more or less well done, 
but if they had not been on hand, then it would have been 
carried out by some one else. A few prominent men, whose 
genius, talent and energy have been aided by fortune, have 
been able perceptibly to accelerate or to retard the progress 
of events. If, for instance, Cesar had sided with the pa- 
tricians, the Roman republic would have lasted until his 
death. Feudality would have taken deep root, would have 
covered Europe, and would even have finally organized 
society without Charlemange. The greatest service ren- 
dered by Napoleon, was the promulgation of the Code, 
which undoubtedly would have been promulgated by some 
one else. The principles of it were fixed in the national 
life, were fructified by the French revolution. Humanity 
generally has far fewer benefactors among great historical 
individuals, than among the great explorers in the limit- 
less field of science, among the men who tear from nature 
its secrets, who unveil the scientific, the moral, the social 

Generally the services rendered to republics are re- 
warded according to prevailing habits and notions, besides 
that the individual is surrounded spontaneously by respect 
and gratitude. Rare are the examples to the contrary. 
The example of Miltiades is held up as a reproach to the 
Athenian demos. But Miltiades, divinized as the victor 
over the Persians, was punished because his subsequent life 



and actions were such as endangered and offended his fel- 
low-citizens. Past good actions do not compensate for new 
mischief-brewing ones. The ostracism of Aristides stands 
there alone without justification. Glory crowns the heroes 
in the end, whatever may have been the conduct of citizens 
and contemporaries, and unfrequent are the cases of decided 
and direct injustice. Society gravitates more and more 
towards a state, where heroes and benefactors will be use- 
less. At the utmost, their task, their mission has been 
needed in primitive, unsettled societies ; as soon as the 
movement becomes regulated, and society settled on a firm 
basis, the time of heroes passes away. 

The obligations between those who render the so-called 
services, and the served, are wholly reciprocal. The one 
is scarcely more bound by it than the other ; and a man who 
in any way serves his country fulfils only his duty towards 
the community. The country proffers and procures to 
him occasion and space to unfold his qualities and ca- 
pacities, to give them higher scope and full play, to ris(i 
over others, to win name and consideration. "Without 
this pedestal, this space, the greatest names which resound 
through centuries would never have emerged from nothing- 
ness. Even the great and justly revered name of Wash- 
ington, would not have acquired the eternal glory which 
surrounds it without the revolution, without the sufferings, 
the sacrifices borne by the people. Without this, Wash- 
ington would have disappeared in the smooth current of 
common, daily life. 

The American commonwealth or people is upbraided 
by foreign and domestic political sentimentalists for not 
electing its most eminent men to the presidency. Sucli 
an election is considered as the last aim of an honorable 
and legitimate ambition, and as a gift always at the dis- 
posal of the people, for the crowning recompense of a 



faithful servant by the highest civic distinction. It is, 
however, not intrinsically the fault of the people at large, 
if such men are not elected, but it results rather from cer- 
tain complicated wheelworks in the process of election, by 
whose handling and shifting, in each political party, emi- 
nent men, out of jealousy, neutralize and defeat each other. 
The organization of parties often acts on and overpowers 
the will, the better impulse of the masses. Further, the 
succession of mediocrities, heading the governmental ma- 
chinery of the United States, has served to prove em- 
phatically the perfection of the system, which can easily 
be overlooked, directed and taken care of, even by the 
most inferior mediocrities. Truly, it is neither a rotten 
nor a faulty system which resisted, and was not broken or 
disordered in the hands of a Pierce, the lowest in the lad- 
der of thorough incapacities. 

After all, the presidential dignity ought not to be con- 
sidered as a reward to be bestowed by the people for cer- 
tain past services rendered to the commonwealth. There 
is no reason why a general successful on battle-fields, should 
be equally fit to direct the governmental machinery. The 
example of Jackson cannot establish a law. The great 
leaders of political parties, who for years in speeches, par- 
liamentary and stump debates, move, excite and carry with 
them the public opinion ; those men necessarily acquire 
certain habits of mind, contract certain passionate, impe- 
rious dispositions, which unfit them for the methodical and 
regular functions of national affairs. In extraordinary 
emergencies, an iron will, based on pure convictions, might 
be necessary at the head of the national chariot. But in 
the normal ordinary current of afi"airs, such so-called emi- 
nent men might become, if not dangerous, at least inju- 
rious, as very likely for the love of glory and immortality, 
or by concert, they would be bent on carrying out their 



special whims or conceptions, despite the exigencies of the 
monient, or contrary to the real interests of the nation. 
Honesty, strong common sense, thorough knowledge of the 
principles on which reposes the governmental structure, 
are the cardinal needs in a president for ordinary times. 
Institutions of the nature, character and composition of 
those of the American republic, can only prosper and op- 
erate orderly in normal conditions. Not by jerks and 
shocks, not among extraordinary combinations, not in the 
heated atmosphere of passion, can the American institutions 
unfold and blossom. Reason, calmness, regularity, fore- 
thought, and the equitable adjustment of various seemingly 
antagonistic interests, form the prominent conditions for 
the prosperous and healthy working of the American body 
politic. Such conditions can only be secured in normal, 
undisturbed times, in an air not charged with inflammable 
or explosive gases. And it is not such a serene atmos- 
phere which propitiates the growth, or evokes to action 
those personages, whom history usually loves to surround 
with the halo of greatness. 

The enemies of American democracy throw at its head 
the disorders occasionally perpetrated by unruly mobs, 
and attempt therefrom to infer that, loosening the strong 
iron bridle of the government, democracy unavoidably 
generates violence and lawlessness. Such disorders occur 
principally, if not exclusively in large cities, those recep- 
tacles and shelters of the most degraded characters. The 
immense majority of such tumultuous agglomerations, is 
composed of individuals who never received a genuine 
democratic training and education, who have not grown 
and lived in a genuine democratic atmosphere. This mov- 
ing population is composed of discordant and heteroge- 
neous elements, poured out from the old world, destitute 
of any notion of right and self-control, but always accus- 



tomed to feel over them the heavy hand of governmental 
police. For them liberty is not order and harmony, not 
an association and deliberate submission to established and 
eqn^l laws ; but a struggle with existing society. Those 
men were born and brought up in conditions in which law 
and right were synonymous in meaning and in application 
with injustice, oppression and exactions ; and they cannot 
at once comprehend the difference which prevails here. 
Democratic America absorbs uninterruptedly masses of 
human beings, who are destitute of any feeling, or spark 
of manhood ; without any comprehension of mutual rela- 
tions of duties and rights. Morally and physically de- 
pressed, embruted, they must be washed, cleansed in body 
and mind, and restored to humanity. Their moral and 
social education is to be begun and completed. The scales 
must be torn from their mind's eyes. They must see and 
learn that freedom and equality are not an opposition to 
oppression, but a normal, healthy, social condition. They 
are to learn and to experience that true, genuine democ- 
racy is not a battering ram to crush afld destroy, but a 
constructive and cementing element. They are to com- 
prehend that the consciousness, the assertion of individu- 
ality does not consist in encroaching in any way on that 
of another, but in peacefully combining both, for the real- 
ization of social, orderly aims. For men who never had 
a true mastership over their persons, nor over their no- 
tions, the first steps on such a path are often difficult ; the 
way of progress remains for a long time unintelligible. 
For the first time they become seemingly uncontrolled 
masters, and their time, their labor are enjoyments un- 
known to them in Europe. What wonder if persons like 
these, so long unmanned, violently abuse the blessings be- 
stowed upon them by American democracy ? 

In free action alone, man acquires the consciousness of 


his inborn dignity, of his elevated destinies, of his moral 
manhood. Democracy alone can secure to him this con- 
dition of his higher, purer life. In free action, man re- 
cognizes that he has inward powers and various resources. 
Here man becomes unfettered mentally and physically. 
Large numbers, nay millions, doomed to servitude, to ig- 
norance, to darkness, become redeemed. This process of 
social purification and of the inoculation of manhood, is 
unprecedented in the world's history. It is a special and 
constituent element of American democracy, and marks 
its superiority over the republics of the past and of the 
modern world. 

Hitherto, democracies have been shortlived, and there 
are not wanting prophets who forebode a like fate to the 
American republic. But all other democracies were born 
and lived in abnormal conditions. All of them had a 
powerful enemy inside, gnawing at the root. This was 
the aristocracy, always and every where pre-existent to 
democracy. The reverse has been the case in this country. 
The American commonwealth cannot therefore run out 
into aristdcratical institutions, become cramped with aris- 
tocratical governmental forms, and see a genuine, powerful 
aristocracy emerge from the actual social organism. Never 
were aristocracies begotten by democracies. It is an im- 
possibility, historical as well as logical. Aristocracy has 
for its source and foundation the originally uncontested 
possession of power ; she fills the space, possesses the soil, 
the land, the localities. All those advantages, acquired 
beforehand by conquest, or pre-occupancy, have received 
the consecration of time and usage. Aristocracy must be 
built up simultaneously with the first boundaries of states, 
or with the first tracing out of cities. Those wlio with 
Romulus dug the earth for the first walls on the Latin hills, 
were the founders of Rome, were the kernel of the Ro- 



man patriciate. Those wlio first took possession and made 
their abode in the Venetian lagunes, laid the corner-stones 
of the Venetian aristocracy. No aristocracy was engen- 
dered in America, either by the possession of power, or on 
battle-fields, or by the primitive erection of cabins, log 
houses, and villages. Now it is too late. Wealth alone is 
not the source of a powerful political aristocracy. The pos- 
session of hereditary power, the possession of land, secured 
by exemption and privilege, by law as well as by usage, 
are the vital conditions of aristocracy. In America, laws 
as well as customs, convictions as well as habits, do not fa- 
vor or procure a single particle of nutriment for an aris- 
tocracy. There is no solidity in the soil, no stability in 
the power of wealth. All is moving on sand, wherein will 
be always engulfed any attempted aristocratic structure. 
No dykes can arrest the rapid democratic current, which 
undermines, dissolves and carries away whatever may be 
thrown into it, for the sake of obstructing its course. 
Should there be the seeds and embryonic elements — which 
in reality is not the case — for such an excrescence, they 
will be destroyed, dissolved before taking root, before be- 
ing able to give signs of existence. Nowhere could be 
found even the rudiments for such a structure, aristocracy 
being antagonistic to the institutions, the notions, the feel- 
ings of the immense majority, nay evep to the habits of 
life of those who attempt to play that childish and ridicu- 
lous game. Aristocracies must be created by primordial 
events. Aristocrats must be born with faith in their pre- 
destined superiority. Aristocrats cannot be formed from 
one day to another by grants and parchments. They must 
be born to command, to assert their right as rulers, over- 
arch the state, and the people underneath must be so de- 
graded as to believe that they are born to crawl and obey. 
Nothing of this kind has existed here, and such relations 



and conditions can neither be reproduced nor created. It 
can be said tliat God's omnipotence would be insufficient 
to give the sanction of the dust of time, wherein consists 
the true value of aristocracy. God's omnipotence could 
not now create in America such a social and political, priv- 
ileged, all-powerful body. There appear on the surface, 
here and there, bubbles, which short-sighted observers 
consider as atoms, wherefrom in future an aristocracy is 
to aggregate. But these transient sham existences have 
no substance whatever, no hold upon the people, no influ- 
ence upon the run of affairs ; their existence is more fac- 
titious and shorter than that of those brilliant insects, 
whom one summer day sees appear, flutter and die. Those 
aristocracies which ruled, oppressed, betrayed and de- 
stroyed states and republics, were not the creations of par- 
lors, drawing-rooms, and church pews. Before they re- 
moved into castles and palaces, they literally put the hand 
to the erection of cities and empires. But no power what- 
ever, no combination of events can be imagined that is 
able to carve out aristocracy from the American social and 
political conditions. Whatever therefore may be the 
breakers ahead, or which surround democracy here, aristoc- 
racies cannot be counted amongst them. 

Anarchy, dissolution and the consequent despotism of 
an individual, are pointed out as the necessary terms of 
popular governments. Bome ended in this manner. Not 
the plebeians, however, but the patricians, were the most 
demoralized and dissolute, and their factious combinations 
rendered the further existence of the republic impossible. 
The Greek republics, whatever might have been the in- 
ternal anarchy which distracted them, did not die in do- 
mestic discords. No Athenian, Spartan, or Theban despot 
seized the power and overthrew the republics. Philip of 
Macedon was a foreign conqueror. The Boman republic 


excepted, almost all others succumbed to foreign conquest, 
and not — as the enemies of popular power assert — to do- 
mestic anarchy. Florence was overpowered by the pope 
and the emperor. The ambition of the Medici and of 
other nobles, and the hatred of a popular form by Charles 
v., sealed the doom of the democracy and freedom. Hol- 
land, Genoa, Venice, albeit not one of them was consti- 
tuted by democratic elements, ceased to exist by subjec- 
tion to a foreign conqueror. Not their domestic dissen- 
sions, but the overwhelming power of France, facilitated 
the conquest. The American commonwealth has no such 
conquering neighbor, and never can such a one exist. No 
European power could in any circumstances whatever, in 
the most distant future, dream or attempt the conquest of 
America, even if an intestine war should rage on her soil. 
Such speculations on improbable probabilities, are beyond 
the limits of sound reasoning, beyond the deductions au- 
thorized by common sense. 

A domestic despot, a Caesar or a Napoleon might 
emerge, and put an end to the democracy, to the Ameri- 
can republic. Such are the forebodings of those who, from 
one or two historical facts, deduce an absolute doctrine for 
all times and for all nations. But they forget the abso- 
lute dissimilarity existing in the constitutive elements and 
principles, in the organism of the government, in its offi- 
cial functions, in the political habits and customs, in the 
character of the people of Rome, France, and of the Uni- 
ted States. In both cases the political and governmental 
centralization facilitated the work. Rome and Paris were 
the head, the heart of the two republics. Any one who 
seized tlie power there, paralyzed the nation. The people, 
accustomed to receive impulse and direction from those 
centres, opposed a doubtful resistance, if any, to the new 
and violently established power. Caesar, Octavius, in se- 



curing Rome, had already a powerful prestige in their fa- 
vor, secured a pivot, a centre, when their enemies, on the 
contrary, were wandering about the earth, dispirited and 
scattered. In France the possession of the capital, with 
all its centralized, political and administrative powers, 
together with the command of the army, secures by a sin- 
gle well-aimed blow any political change. The people, 
the nation is beheaded or stabbed in the heart in Paris, 
and submit more or less reluctantly to their fate. The 
same is and will be nearly always the case with all other 
European states. Every where, even in England, feeble 
as it is, centralization' deprives the rest of the nation of the 
energy necessary to resist any usurper of the supreme 
power. In America every such move and attempt will 
meet insurmountable political, social, governmental and 
geographical hindrances. 

It can be said, that time and space will be against 
such a usurper. The American commonwealth, it can be 
said, has comparatively no standing army. Should a kind 
of anarchy, precursory to despotism and usurpation, con- 
tribute to give force and consistency to a military power, a 
military leader could never acquire the same influence over 
the minds and the devotion of the soldiery, that was pos- 
sessed by the military chiefs of the ancient and European 
world. The elements of which such an army could be com- 
posed here, must be perfectly different from those of the old 
nations. The men who might enlist under this banner, 
originally independent citizens, would always have within 
them a moral repulsion, an undisciplined spirit, which 
must oppose the absolute will of the leader. Armies 
identify themselves with their captains by long years of 
warfare, by the recollections of conquest, glory, and of 
hardships. But here no such conquest, no such recollec- 
tions can render possible this incarnation of the spirit of 


the chief in the whole army. All the European states, 
monarcliies as well as republics, Rome or France, even of 
1794 or 1799, have been essentially and traditionally for 
centuries, a kind of military and militant societies. The 
American republics have not this character ; it is not en- 
grafted in the institutions, in the spirit of the people, and 
never can be. The man of the people, the masses will 
fight themselves, but will not submit to have armies of 

But admitting even at the worst that such an army 
could exist with an ambitious leader, having in him the 
stuff for a traitor to liberty. He seizes upon the capital, as 
is Washington, he corrupts the members of Congress, and 
brings them over to his side, or seizes, imprisons and dis- 
perses them. In either of these cases, having possession 
of the capital, he has only in his hands a city, wherefrom 
no threads or administrative nets extend over the country. 
Having in his hand the members of Congress, he will 
have some individuals only, but not personages, whose de- 
cisions or doom could in any way influence and seal that of 
the various States. Each state, each district, nay nearly 
each township and village must have been filled with par- 
tisans of the usurper, must have been separately and lit- 
erally conquered. The independent self-government of 
states, the self-government of the people must have been 
eradicated, abolished previous to the establishment of 
the power of an usurper. From Washington, or any 
other like centre, no strong governmental rays could 
carry his biddings, and find or enforce submission to 
them. Such an administrative current of electricity does 
not exist in America, and the utmost anarchy is the last 
way to create and foster it. Each separate state, with its 
well-ordered administrative and legislative wheelworks, 
will at once oppose without effort the acts of the usurper, 



or those of a Congress siding with him. Parliamentary 
omnipotence is not among the recognized principles of the 
constitution of the American political structure, and still 
less is it ingrained in the notions or habits of the people. 

In Rome, as in France, there prevailed and still prevails 
an inborn subserviency, a mental and political servitude 
in the provinces, the country, in their relations with the 
capital. The European capitals are in reality not only 
administrative and governmental centres, but the great 
and almost exclusive foci of light, and the dispensers of 
culture for the whole nation. Thus it is natural that the 
people should follow whatever impulse comes therefrom. 
But the capital of the American federation is not such a 
centre for mental culture, or for administrative power. 
To facilitate the work of usurpation, it would be neces- 
sary that an extensive conspiracy should extend its meshes 
over the whole country, entangling not only individuals, 
but the temporary holders of the administrative power. 
Such a supposition, impossible in itself, could not even 
then advance the work, the aim of an usurper. The 
threads would break on account of their extension. In 
one word, considered from whatever point of view, the 
usurpation of power by one — according to the occurrences 
and the experience of past times — has no tools to work 
for it here, no chances in the existing facts and in the ma- 
terial means, and can obtain no possible hold of the country 
over the minds of the people. A wholly new combination of 
moral and material events would be necessary to facilitate 
the course, and bring forth an usurpation. A protracted 
intestine war, destroying the prosperity, the institutions of 
the country, destroying whole generations, and breeding in new ones, embruted, debased, wholly disconnected 
with the spirit, with the notions of the past ; such is the only 
possible way to prepare and accomplish the overthrow of the 



republic. By such a war alone the path for an usurper 
could he cleared. Such a fearful combination of events 
lies beyond human forethought, beyond logical probability. 
It would be the victory of evil over good, of the spirit of 
darkness over light. Such an event, if evoked at all, 
would be not the work, not the result of the democracy, 
but that of the most hideous and treacherous aristocracy 
that ever darkened and blotted the pages of history, or 
endangered the free and normal onward march of society. 
The poison, the anarchy, tjie curse of America is in the 
slavery-breeding, slavery-sustaining States, and in their 
accomplices among the free States. 

It is not only difficult but wholly impossible to admit, 
that a people like that of the American free communities, 
inheriting for generations the enjoyment of its rights, in a 
fulness unprecedented in history ; that such a people could 
give them up under any circumstances and combinations 
whatever. No European people ever existed in the same 
social conditions, or possessed an equal degree of culture 
and of political independence, and thus never lost what 
in reality it did not possess. Inferences from the stages 
traversed by the ancient or modern European nations 
and governments, can in no manner be applied to Amer- 
ica. Here every individual exercises spontaneously his 
judgment and his powers, and thus millions of free, un- 
trammelled forces are at work for the well comprehended 
individual good, and therefore for the public good. The 
democratic development of America realizes what in Eu- 
rope was, and is still, considered as a speculation or a Uto- 
pia. It shows distinctly that humanity henceforth is not a 
word but a reality, a force in constant action. It shows 
that the fullest and brightest manifestations of the spirit 
which animates our race are not concentrated in the few, 
and that the destinies of masses are the best worked out 



by themselves. Such a state of society cannot run into 
anarchy, and be consumed by despotism. Where a people 
is accustomed to watch over its own interests, and to han- 
dle them practically, the power and the right can never 
be wrested out of its hands. 

The beginning, the origin, the growth, the develop- 
ment of the American society and body politic, in all 
their cardinal phases, is wholly of a different character 
from those of other nations and states, as well as re- 
publics, whether oligarchical, aristocratic, or democratic. 
Whatever may be the destinies reserved for America, 
their course and final issue must unavoidably differ from 
those catastrophes which marked the existence and the 
doom of other states. The social and political birth, 
growth, and progress of America refute all the established 
axioms, that are deduced from the history of pre-existing 
societies. American society cannot move in the circle to 
which philosophers have hitherto limited the destinies of 
the race. Whether Hobbes or De Maistre, Bossuet or 
Vico, Herder, Lessing, Rousseau, or Haller, Ballanche, 
Hegel, or Comte, they have all seen only this circular or- 
bit, and assigned to the course of society in its mental, 
moral, and political march, the same or similar phases for 
the future. Authority under various manifestations or 
characters, but always the authority of one, be it patri- 
arch or king, lawgiver or hierophant, is said to have been 
the starting point, and whatever forms society may have 
successively run through and lived, it is to return to ab- 
solute or modified, but always to a superior authority, or 
by decay and anarchy, even to despotism. American so- 
ciety, the American nation was neither engendered nor 
brought into action by the authority, by the influence of a 
supreme moral, mental, or political leader ; it is the off- 
spring of a principle. Admitting therefore even the value 



of the established axioms, they cannot be applied to Amer- 
ica — and she is not to run out into monarchy, anarchy, and 
despotism. Sociology, with all its various theorems, is at 
fault, and America does not adjust itself to its frames. 
All societies began in a synthesis, religious, mental, phi- 
losophical, as well as in a social or political unity or au- 
thority ; and after traversing various phases of activity 
and development, they run out into the epoch of analysis, 
subdivision, research, science, and criticism. America, re- 
ligiously or philosophically considered, is the creation of 
analysis, and accordingly of that phasis in which other socie- 
ties have terminated ; politically and socially, America per- 
sonifies the coaibination of free individuality with associa- 
tion, in a self-conscious democracy — a combination hith- 
erto unknown in the history of nations. The problem be- 
fore America is therefore different from those which other 
societies had to solve. She has therefore emphatically to 
reconstruct a new and higher synthesis, out of the nega- 
tion, criticism, and analysis, which generated and gave her 
birth. America, it may be, is destined to lead the ascen- 
sion on the spiral, and by her example relieve society 
from the vicious circle in which it has hitherto been im- 
prisoned. And as in the dialectic process, a lower, infe- 
rior term dissolves in one of a higher and more general 
order ; of the same ascending character ought to be the 
solutions which are evolved from the social existence and 
functions of a genuine democracy. The present state of 
America is considered an experimental one. Be it so. 
To a successful experiment succeeds generalization. 





Self-government is the absolute and necessary comple- 
ment of democracy. Together they constitute the highest 
term of social development and organization, in fellowship 
and equality. They reciprocally fulfil the ultimate train- 
ing of man as a social and moral being. 

Self-government, as conceived, understood and real- 
ized in America, excludes emphatically a priori, and an- 
nihilates that notion of government which has hitherto 
been considered as among the cardinal constitutive ele- 
ments, as well as cements of a well-organized and well- 
developed society. Self-government is the negation of au- 
thority, of initiative, of direction to be exercised from 
above, under any title of supremacy based on grounds as- 
sumed, artificial, and delusive. Self-government confirms 
the emancipation of reason, judgment, and will in the in- 
dividual, from subjection to any kind of moral and physi- 
cal compulsion, to the reason, judgment and will of anoth- 
er. It is the practical consecration and realization of the 
indestructible rights of man. It is limited only by vol- 
untary association, with the aim of securing the general 
welfare of the whole, at the least possible sacrifice of in- 
dividual freedom. 



Authority, as the founder of society, and its conseqaent 
exclusive intiatory, directing, or governing power, was 
inherent in all ancient and European nations. Even the 
freest among them always recognized in some conception, 
form or manifestation, such an authority lodged above the 
mass of the people ; authority as aristocracy, patriarchate, 
etc., giving a moral or positive legal sanction to the exer- 
cise by the people of political rights, incompletely as those 
rights were enjoyed. Such rights were wrested out or 
conceded. Thus the idea and the fact of the existence 
of a supreme authority vested in one or several individu- 
als, became almost indestructible. The partial self-gov- 
ernment in ancient societies, was always intermixed in 
some way or other with such authoritative interference 
from above. In European republics there were always 
castes or classes, guilds or corporations, exercising au- 
thority over the mass of the population ; of which, even 
in those republics, only a small part enjoyed political 
rights, or was occasionally consulted — but did not decide 
— about the internal management and husbandry of do- 
mestic daily concerns. Communal institutions and sub- 
divisions, as partially enjoyed in Italy, Germany, Spain or 
France, relating to administrative objects, always acted 
under the sanction, the direction of a distinct, superior 
centralized governmental authority, encircling and pene- 
trating society, whatever might be its form or name. In 
France and Germany, the mayors of the communes are 
nominated by the government. Absolute, constitutional 
monarchy, republic, all equally as states and governments, 
encircle and penetrate, with their anaconda-like folds, the 
most minute and distant recesses of the governed. In 
England, authority from above lies at the basis of the con- 
stitutional liberties and institutions. The government 
concentrated in royalty has the major right of initiative, 



of direction, and interference, has the creative attribute. 
Out of the three elements composing the political society, 
two of them, the royalty and the lords, are inborn, supe- 
rior authorities and privileged powers, the lords being the 
creation of royalty, and only the house represents, and up 
to this time represents only in part— the English people. 
Thus in this tripartite compound, two are direct negations 
of self-government, and the third is only its imperfect as- 
sertion. Communal institutions, to be sure, have been de- 
veloped for centuries in England, in a fulness unknown to 
the European continent. But they do not repose on uni- 
versality of rights and duties, even as regards the admin- 
istration of their internal concerns, they do not expand 
as freely in all directions, as in America. However 
slightly, there is always present and felt the action of a 
government above them, a centralization overhauls them. 
And finally in the functions of these communal institu- 
tions in the country, if not in cities, there is always felt 
the moral or de facto influence and the presence of a 
distinct social class. The nobility, the gentry, the squires 
personally and by their patronage, exercise a direct action 
on the smallest commune. 

Centralization is an unavoidable corollary of a power, 
which is exercised by an authority from above. Decen- 
tralization goes hand in hand with all the evolutions and 
ramifications of self-government. The European popula- 
tions are so thoroughly penetrated and imbued with deferen- 
tial respect for centralization, they have been so thoroughly 
trained and drilled for ages of their existence, by sover- 
eign authority, acting from a centre in all directions ; that 
whatever might be the transition to a new order, they 
would be unable to go through the one or enter the other, 
without centralization and a superior direction. The 
present state of Europe may be regarded as a symptom of the 



epoch of an exhausted political evolution. A higher social 
order is to succeed. Such inauguration will and must be 
prompted, accomplished by the ancient governmental pro- 
cess, by an action from above — and not by a spontaneous 
impulse of the people. 

The community, composed of free and equal men, was 
the fountain-head, the corner-stone of American society. 
Self-government lay therefore as the exclusive kernel of 
a future development. The township was the primitive 
state from which the start was made. The township there- 
fore still remains in its function^ the generating power, 
the foundation, the nursery of self-government and of 
American social order. On the self-government of town- 
ships reposes the freedom of the state, and from it is evolved 
in wider and wider, all-embracing circles, the whole exist- 
ing political structure. A township forms in itself a free 
and independent state, perfectly organized for all purpo- 
ses. It legislates for taxes itself, and executes its own 
enactments, without any interference or sanction of the 
so-called general government. It is connected with simi- 
lar embryonic states, by the cement of the law ; is amena- 
ble only to the courts of justice, and these laws the asso- 
ciated townships frame and enact by legislatures, repre- . 
senting the whole people moving in these social cradles. 

Although originally these communal habits and no- 
tions were brought here by the settlers from the mother 
country ; events and new conditions gave to them a vigor- 
ous and complete, and hence almost a new expansion. 
The first settlements in America, and especially those of 
New England, being private individual undertakings, were 
not under any immediate authoritative, governmental di- 
rection. The first colony formed a community of equals, 
who deliberated upon and decided all necessary ques- 
tions and measures. All these objects were of more vital 



importance for the new colony than any events occurring 
in the mother country. Almost daily new emergencies 
occurred, and the topics for debate and decision ac- 
quired more significance. Here at once all the cares of 
a regularly acting government devolved upon the set- 
tlers. So the first settlement or community realized at 
once self-government in its plenitude. With the increase 
of the population, new townships and villages, or cities, 
were raised by men enjoying equal rights, and were thus in- 
dependent in their action of any direction or submission to 
any superimposed power, which might have been invested 
in any privileged locality, in an individual, or in a corpo- 
ration. Thus decentralization grew out of every step of 
the extending colony. 

Every individual participated in the deliberation, ap- 
prentices and servants — the last few in number, and rarely 
met with — excepted. The decisions became enacted into 
obligatory laws. The individuals chosen for their admin- 
istration, were only delegates of the power, which resided 
originally and uninterruptedly in every one of the members 
of the community. The persons elected were there to ful- 
fil not their own will, nor that of any superior independ- 
ent authority of government ; but to fulfil the will of 
their constituents, the people. It can be said that no 
other human society, nation or state has had a similar or- 
igin. This constitutive and absolute character of self- 
government remained unaltered. It was the main spirit 
which penetrated the whole body politic, in all the forma- 
tions of separate states, and which now prevails in the po- 
litical union of these distinct and independent bodies. 

The governors of the colonies, originally named by the 
English government, served as a kind of administrative 
link between the two countries, but had no power to 
organize, to direct, or exercise any authoritative and inde- 



pendent supremacy. Different was the power of the Ro- 
man proconsuls and governors, and of those who, in the 
name of European monarchies or republics, ruled over ci- 
ties, provinces, districts or other dependencies. It was 
almost as absolute as the supreme authority which dele- 
gated it. The governors of the colonies had no right of 
initiative, but only of suggestion to the deliberative bodies^ 
which under various names were chosen directly by the 
colonies. The governors administered and executed the 
laws and regulations that were enacted by the colonists. 
Thus at the start, even in the colonial state, self-govern- 
ment, equality and decentralization operated in America 
with a completeness unknown in the mother country. 

The minds as well as the habits of the Americans, 
were thus daily schooled in the art of self-government, at 
every step in their social life. The revolution, the con- 
quest of independence and nationality did not create self- 
governmentj but only gave to it a broader sphere, and 
pruned awaj/ certain impediments in its normal function 
and development. Decentralization, which already existed 
before the revolution, was no hinderance in resisting the 
aggressions of the mother country. Not the example of 
cities, forming capitals and centres, as is the case in Eu- 
rope, inflamed and drew into action the rest of the coun- 
try. The consciousness, the knowledge of political rights 
animated every cottage, plantation, hut, and equally in 
New England as in the Carolinas, inspired every individual 
to resist arbitrary outrages. Boston, in its resistance to 
stamp and tea duties, was cheered and encouraged by the 
population of the whole State. 

Centralization is inherent in every European nation. 
All England in case of emergency will look to London, to 
the omnipotent parliament, for impulse and decision. 
America has not now, and never did have such a centre, pre- 



vious to or during the revolution. Centralization in Eu- 
rope is, however, a two-edged sword. If it concentrates 
in the hands of the monarchs an immense power of action 
and defence, it facilitates likewise the work of revolutions. 
If the revolution succeeds in the centre, if it seizes the 
power, then as a general rule success is assured. Any 
movements on the circumference will always prove unsuc- 
cessful. The people, accustomed to being directed, governed, 
feels no power of initiative within itself, hut is always 
ready to receive an impulse. In one word, although cen- 
tralization forms the safest stronghold of despotism, it like- 
wise forms the most efficient battering-ram for its destruc- 
tion. The new social organizations which are to be erected 
on the ruins of the pre-existent powers, must be aided in 
their action by centralization, using authority as a princi- 
pal cement and constitutive element. Self-government, as 
it operates in America, could not be inaugurated at pres- 
ent in any European nation whatever. Difficult, almost 
impossible it is to eradicate what ages have consecrated, to 
change the current of ideas, conceptions, and social habits, 
which have changed and deteriorated human nature. 

Few if any European political philosophers or social 
reformers have placed self-government and decentralization 
at the bottom of their theories. Few if any of those who 
make the institutions of this country the special object of 
their studies, comprehend to what an extent decentraliza- 
tion and self-government are positive, orderly realities, 
forming the nutritive elements, as well as the nerves and 
the muscles of the American political organization and ex- 

In the American republics the constituted powers, em- 
anating directly from the people, remain with it, and no 
delegated body or individual is in any way fully intrusted 
with the supreme power. The people never divests itself 



of all its rights, by transferring them to the hands of its 
delegates, under whatever name those delegates may act, 
according to the commonly adopted theory of European 
representative governments, even of those attempted by 
republican and democratic reformers. 

What in Europe is represented and acts as government, 
with more or less complete attributes of direction, author- 
ity and initiative, in strict construction does not exist at 
all in the American organism. The American Union, the 
American States are not governed, but only administered 
in the same way as every township and village. The 
elective chief of the State, or Governor, and the President 
of the United States, are only chief administrators. Nei- 
ther the Grovernor of a State, nor the President of the 
Union, possesses the power of initiative. He executes laws 
framed by the legislative bodies, with or without his ad- 
vice, with or without his assent, as the veto opposed by 
him disappears before two-thirds of the legislative votes. 
The executive of the Union watches over the execution of 
the laws, and over the general security and the relations 
with foreign states as well. 

The power invested in Governors or in the President, 
of vetoing the laws enacted by the legislative bodies, is 
derived from a principle wholly at variance with that in 
which it is exercised by a monarch. In the king it is the 
last echo of his supreme authority deriving from above, 
from God ; it is the remains of his once unlimited power, 
of his function as the fountain-head of right and law, the 
dispenser of justice, the absolute and uncontrolled ruler 
of the nation. In the American republics, the veto is 
exercised by an immediate offshoot of the people, elected 
for the purpose of wielding for a certain period the power 
of the people, and as the expression of its supreme choice. 

The checks imposed upon the principal branch of the ex- 



ecutive, that is, the Governor of a State or the President of 
the Union, differ in their nature, origin and action from those 
which surround the constitutional powers in Europe. Koy- 
alty, upper and lower houses, whatever may be their denom- 
ination, represent different and antagonistic social elements 
and social interests. They derive their origin either from 
social and politic excrescences, or from fictions. Royalty, 
upper houses or senates repose on privilege, represent indi- 
vidual interests, which, under the newly created name of con- 
servatism, are to act in opposition to the rapid and all-em- 
bracing movement and interests of the people at large. As 
if in a well-ordained and healthy society or nation, there 
could or ought to exist certain separated interests, directly 
opposing the interests, the well-being, the progress of the 
masses. The checks imposed upon the constituted powers 
in American republics, are destined to arrest the abuse of the 
delegated power contrary to the interests of the people. All 
these bodies have one and the same origin. It is a demo- 
cratic self-governing people, administering its general or 
special affairs through delegates. The President of the 
Union and one of the houses of Congress are the direct ema- 
nations of universal suffrage. The Senate is not a corpo- 
ration, is not a separated body, but likewise mediately is- 
sues from the self-governing people. All these functions 
stand there, unprecedented and unequalled in the political 
history of nations. The Senate of the respective States 
is elected by the people on the same principles as the 
House of Kepresentatives, only by larger colleges or dis- 
tricts. The Senate of the United States is neither an aris- 
tocratic nor conservative body. The Senate represents a 
higher principle, and occupies a position far superior to 
that of the senators of Rome, of the councils of Venice, 
of the houses of lords, or of any upper houses in Euro- 
pean governments. The Roman senators represented a 



social class and caste, represented families, but not the 
people, and not the whole Koman republic. The same is 
the case with all hereditary modern constitutional bodies. 
The Senate of the United States represents independent 
sovereignties, watching through the senators over those 
rights which the people of the sovereignties give up par- 
tially for the sake of association and of general welfare. 
It is a position far more elevated than that of the patres 
conscripti, or of modern lords. The Senate confirming all 
the principal nominations made by the President, for va- 
rious offices, shares with him the supreme attributes of 
sovereignty, and by confirming the treaties concluded by 
the President with foreign countries, it also preserves and 
represents in the Union the supreme sovereignty of each 
of the confederated States. 

In each of the supreme branches administering the 
separate republics and the Union, there is always omni- 
present, not only the abstractly recognized sovereignty of 
the people—as for instance in England — but the self-gov- 
erning people itself through its delegates. All these con- 
stituted powers reflect the kernel of society, the internal 
organization of the commune or of the township, an organi- 
zation widening according to exigencies, but unchangeable 
in its nature. This fountain-head of the political organi- 
zation of the American commonwealth, seems to have es- 
caped the observation of European writers ; to such an 
extent is it new, unwonted, contrary to all received and 
current ideas. 

European publicists have also hitherto generally mis- 
understood the character of the Union, and the nature of 
the power of the President, formations opposite to all past 
political and governmental conceptions. Events combined 
with the generating principle of American society, gave 
birth to these political organizations and subdivisions of 



power, all of which bear the stamp of originality and self- 
creation. These institutions emerged from the American 
soil, fructified by equality and liberty. These institu- 
tions alone constitute a real progress of the human race, 
while all the European constitutions are only, under va- 
rious forms, consecrations of the privileges of a few, 
against the rights of the many. The American institutions 
have no precedents in history. Not to Grreece or Rome, 
not to England, not to past European republics can we 
look for comparisons and for a measuring scale. The 
township, the State, the Union have nothing in common 
with what existed in the past, whose authority is not ap- 
plicable to America. 

The intrinsic character of the United States is that 
of an aggregated nation ; in its existence a nation com- 
posed out of a triad, never previously known or realized in 
history, namely, the separate States, the whole people, and 
the United States. The third is the last born, and the two 
first are its generators. The United States have no abso- 
lutely imperative conditions of existence, but only those 
which are secondary, incidental, and derivative. The Uni- 
ted States emerged out of the concourse of events. Pre- 
vious to a certain positive chronological epoch, as the end 
of the revolutionary war — or as more definitively consti- 
tuted in 1789 — there existed no such complex nation as 
the United States. They were formed, together with 
their constitution, for certain positive ends. The ele- 
ments of their formation were the concession and the 
abandonment of certain, well-defined and specified sover- 
eign rights, inherent in the individuals, in the people in 
general, and in the separate States. The people, as so 
many sovereign individuals or units, accepted the consti- 
tution which gave birth to the United States. In the log- 
ical and moral development of the principle of self-gov- 



ernment, the origin of power and tlie spirit animating the 
constitution therefore reside in the parents, and not in 
their offspring. Certain rights not conceded, and equally 
sovereign in their nature with those given up and absorbed 
in the United States, for the sake of association, remained 
with the people and with each State. Those State rights 
consecrate and preserve the sovereign right of the people, 
and are the surest guarantee of independence, the firmest 
barrier against centralization, that deadliest enemy of self- 
government. They are thus inherent in the political de- 
velopment of America, so normal in their nature and ac- 
tion, that every attempt to strengthen the central or fed- 
eral power at the cost of State rights, and the consequent 
diminution of the rights of the people have failed, as an- 
tagonistic to the fundamental principle, and therefore il- 
logical and inadmissible. 

The Congress can only legislate upon objects distinctly 
defined in the constitution, but not upon those, by far more 
numerous and important, which the people of each sepa- 
rate State has reserved for itself. The Congress can in no 
way interfere with the municipal rights of States and lo- 
calities. The Congress has no parliamentary omnipotence, 
like the parliament of England and the legislative bodies 
of European states, modelled on English constitutions. 
In the whole of this political and federative structure 
there runs a broad and luminous line, which - marks the 
difference between the institutions of the past and those 
of the American commonwealth. It can be asserted that 
if Greece, or in Christian times, if the cities and small 
republics of Italy, among others the cities of the Lom- 
bard league, could have realized such a kind of associa- 
tion, based on logical combination and compromise of 
rights and interests, Philip and Alexander would not have 
disorganized and subdued Grreece, and Italy would have 



been centuries ago a free nation, undcsecrated by kings, 
popes and foreign oppression. 

Jealousies between states dug the grave of Greece and 
Italy. Tbe combination which produced the United 
States, prevents the germination of similar jealousies. 
No one special state is the head and the leader, but all 
are united on rights and prerogatives equal in principle. 
No one state exercises any special supreme power or in- 
fluence, as did Sparta, Athens and Thebes, or for acquiring, 
which contended with each other, the Italian, the Lom- 
bard cities. Jealousy against each other armed Grenoa, 
Pisa, Sienna, Florence. And again, neither Congress nor 
the President, even in the name of the Union, is invested 
with powers and rights, which lessen or endanger those of„ 
each state. Thus the President, while wielding the su- 
preme executive power of the collective people, has no offi- 
cial influence over the executives of the separate States. 
Neither has Congress any right to legislate for the internal 
affairs of the States. A decentralization of powers pre- 
serves the general independence. The President is the 
medium through which foreign countries enter into legal of- 
ficial intercourse with the United States as a whole, each 
single State having given up this right of intercourse. The 
Swiss republics, although confederated, could each con- 
tract separate treaties with foreign powers, as can be done 
by the members of the Grerman confederation. 

Except the cases enumerated in the fundamental con- 
stitution, and relating to rights conceded to the Union, the 
central power wielded in the name of the whole people, 
by the President and Congress, does not press as such on 
a part of the people, who form a separate State. So the 
individuality as a State preserves its rights, as it is sacred 
in every member of the community. As previous to the 
organization of the Union, the people and the respective 



States exercised full attributes of sovereignty, and the com- 
bined mass accordingly could never press on a part ; so after 
the construction of the Union the parts remained protected 
against the abuse of an undue interference of a combined 

In all the political structures existing in Europe, ei- 
ther absolutist or constitutional, there is recognized a su- 
preme, an executive, legislative centre and authority. 
Even the socialist schools, in their projects and theories, 
uphold the idea of a central organizing power, absorbing 
all others, and legislating for all. In America a vital dif- 
ference exists between the purport of laws enacted by 
Congress, and their bearing on the immediate social con- 
dition of the people, and that of the laws enacted by 
special State legislatures. The laws enacted by Congress 
are general in their bearing, and relate only to certain 
general governmental administrative questions, as well as 
those of external policy. The action of the State legisla- 
tures bears directly on social developments. All the 
questions of vital importance to society, all the radical re- 
forms in legislation, jurisprudence, those connected with 
domestic life, with the morals of the people, form the ex- 
clusive objects of State legislatures. Thus slavery, tem- 
perance, the relations and the state of property, the posi- 
tion and relations, the rights and duties of the family, all 
the great principles on which society is based, are all in 
the domain of State legislatures. Their action therefore 
is the mainspring of all social evolutions, and on them 
really depends the democratic and self-governing progress, 
the future of America. The State legislatures represent 
the degree of the morality of the people, as they represent 
the immediate needs, tendencies, and culture of the popula- 
tions. The practical, physical, and mental necessities and 
interests, by which communities act and develop them- 



selves, find their expression and satisfaction in these legis- 
latures. Congress deals with political, the State legisla- 
tures with radical social questions and solutions. In Eu- 
rope the importance and the influence of these legislatures 
on the condition of American progress is neither under- 
stood nor even conjectured. 

Like every single individual, the constituted bodies, 
wielding the delegated power in their variously complica- 
ted actions, may encroach upon, may come in various ways 
in conflict with each other. It is therefore of supreme 
importance to observe and to know what a people — in the 
almost unbounded exercise of its individuality and rights 
— recognizes and fixes as limitations on the reciprocal en- 
joyment of freedom. These rights are marked out and 
guaranteed, and the manifold private and political rela- 
tions between persons, between communities and the State, 
as well as between the separate States themselves, are de- 
termined and put under an efficient safeguard. It was and 
is of the utmost importance for a society founded on self- 
government, to secure a regular untrammelled action in 
all its parts and branches, to secure each from wilful en- 
croachments and violations. All the powers and rights, 
those inherent in each individual, as well as those delega- 
ted and intrusted for the advantage of the association, are 
to be so regulated and controlled that one cannot expand 
at the cost of the other. The nature of this supreme 
controlling authority, its moral comprehension and its 
positive action and interposition in society, is of the great- 
est significance in the constitutive organism of a self-gov- 
erning people. 

In ancient societies and states, the people in the forum 
or in comitias — or oligarchical and aristocratical councils, 
under various denominations, but with supreme attributes — 
royalty, personally, or by its lieutenants — and in limited 



or constitutional monarcliies, the omnipotent parliament 
exercised a supreme regulating power over tlie laws, and 
over social guarantees, as well as over the rights of whole 
bodies, and over individual liberties. If not in the high- 
est executive, as the sovereign, then in the political bo- 
dies was invested the supreme power. In America this 
supremacy is intrusted by the people to the existing 
law, and to the judiciary as its presumed faithful and 
conscientious administrators. The supremacy of the law 
has been nowhere recognized to such an extent and with 
such a plenitude as by this self-governing people. At 
every step, in every emergency, in every collision, pri- 
vate or political, in every action of single individuals, 
communities and political bodies, of legislative and ex- 
ecutive branches, every thing is subjected absolutely to 
the law and to its decisions. The judicial courts in many 
respects are paramount to all other constituted and ex- 
isting powers. The judiciary decides in the last resort, 
when either the executive of the Union or the government 
of States has transcended the constitutional limits, and de- 
clares all such proceedings void. Thus the judiciary ar- 
rests the arms of either government, when it would over- 
step the prescribed boundaries, and encroach upon the 
precincts of another. The Supreme Court of the United 
States decides disputes between the various powers and 
States, and can annul any law of Congress by declaring its 
unconstitutionality. A similar power is exercised by the 
supreme courts of each State over the respective legisla- 
tures and administration. All matters concerning dis- 
puted jurisdiction between the various branches of the ad- 
ministration are decided in the judicial courts. The law 
is the supreme authority. It interposes its decisive ac- 
tion in all questions, binding together and regulating the 
motion of all the social particles, the smallest as well as 



the largest. No conflict whatever can arise which could 
not be settled by the courts. The decisions of the court 
can often solve knots which were left unsolved by the elec- 
tive action of the people. 

The English 'courts would not dare to question the 
constitutionality of a law enacted by the parliament. Nor 
could this be done by the supreme court in France. In 
European states administrative conflicts are decided by the 
executive. The councils of state which surround the 
monarchies in Europe, are executive and administrative 
wheels in the governmental machinery. Neither the su- 
preme will of a parliament in England or on the continent, 
however oppressive it might prove for political parties, ad- 
ministrative branches or single individuals ; nor the per- 
sonal will of a sovereign, however arbitrary might be its 
action, could find a curb in the judicial powers. In the 
historical records, of pure monarchical states especially, 
rarely do we find the evidences of respect for laws given 
by the master, and of the confidence of the subject in the 
integrity of their distribution, like that shown by the mil- 
ler of Potsdam, who answered Frederick the Great, that 
there are judges in Berlin against royal ivhims ; an an- 
swer which remains as the purest ray of glory in the reign 
of this philosophical absolutist. 

The efficacy of the judicial power, which in its nature 
is rather moral than physical, reposes on the inherent re- 
spect of each individual for the law and its decisions. In 
some exceptional cases the law might be pushed aside in 
the momentary fermentation of passion, or when its ad- 
ministration was wilfully desecrated; but the immense 
majority of the population submits to the enforcement of 
judicial decisions, with a confidence and ease unknown and 
unthouglit of in Europe. Every truly free man here re- 
cognizes without hesitation, the judicial power as the su- 


preme regulator of society. The American communities, 
the American self-governing people, in their homage to the 
law, stand unique in history. The voluntary recognition 
of the supremacy of verdicts issued in the name of reason, 
justice and equity, is the highest manifestation of social 
culture which society could attain in its present stage. It 
evidences the deliberate effort of a free people, legislating 
for itself — and not receiving the law from a founder, a 
sovereign or an individual legislator, in order to defend it- 
self against outbursts of excited or virulent passions. 
The judge who speaks, is presumed not to speak under the 
inspiration of his individual will, but to utter the words 
of a positive existing law ; he is enlightened by its cool 
and discriminating spirit. The supremacy conceded to 
the judge over the legislator, has a psychological charac- 
ter, and results from the supposition that legislative as- 
semblies might act under the impulse or the pressure of 
violent excitement; that the spirit of party, or momen- 
tary enthusiasm for a notion or a reform, might carry 
them too far, cloud their appreciative faculties, and result 
in enactments at variance with previous laws, and with bind- 
ing constitutional compacts. The judicial courts, as the 
constituted guardians of the existing laws, represent the 
sober second thought, the purified conscience of the com- 

In many cases, experience has shown that the supre- 
macy accorded to the law, and to its organ, the judge, is 
wise and salutary. It is one of the noblest features of 
the system. It is the highest homage rendered to the 
power of reason. Often, where in Europe brute arbitrary 
or military force intervenes and settles disputes in blood, 
in America the calm, fearless decision of the law deter- 
mines irrevocably, tranquillizes passions, prevents violent 
conflicts among powers, as well as among individuals, and 



is intended even to rectify or to arrest the influence of 
passion in the legislators themseh^es. 

But this subordination of the legislator to the judge, 
or in other words, of the ever-living spirit to the dead let- 
ter, has its dark shadows. Judges as well as legislators, 
can take an active part in the interests of life by which 
they are surrounded, can be acted on and carried away by 
passions. In such cases their decisions clash with the bet- 
ter, generous tendencies of the people, of the majority. 
The judges act in the name of the past, they sustain the 
past to the detriment of new conceptions, derived from 
new wants and conditions, from the moral progress and 
amelioration of the community. Often the judge, with 
Mosaic rigidity, adheres to the letter, excluding the spirit, 
which alone can reinvigorate society at whatever stage it 
may have reached. Thus in the temperance question, the 
people of various States legislated to protect itself against 
the temptation of crime. The majority of the courts 
overruled this noble attempt, annihilating by technicalities 
the inspirations of morality. 

Further, the omnipotence of the courts and judges, 
however conservative of society they may be considered, 
degenerates, like every kind of rigid, lifeless conservatism, 
into a kind of despotism. But despotism of whatever 
nature or name, exercised by a sovereign or by a judge, is 
antagonistic to regulated and healthy progress. The des- 
potism of tyrants leaning on bayonets, or of judges abu- 
sing the construction to be put upon laws, both demoral- 
ize society. Courts and judges, overruling by their ver- 
dicts the laws which have been enacted by legislatures, 
and issuing directly from the people, substitute the will 
of the few for that of the many. The judge publishes his 
individual opinion, and construes the law according to the 
comprehensioiJ of his individual intellect. So after all, a 



judge exercises in theory, as well as in certain contingen- 
cies practically, as much of absolute power as can be ex- 
ercised by a sovereign prince. It is true, that the judge 
acts within certain limitations and forms, but entrenched 
behind them his power is as irresponsible as that of any 
absolute ruler. Thus slavery-sustaining influences have 
more than once polluted the judiciary, and foiled the con- 
fidence of society in the impartiality of the distributors 
of justice. An unprincipled judge becomes as remorseless 
as the most bloody despot. 

There is the most remarkable analogy between the 
conduct of Judge Kane, in the celebrated case of Wil- 
liamson, who, according to existing laws, instructed a slave 
in his rights to freedom, and aided him in their legal re- 
covery, and that of Francis I., of Austria, towards the 
Lombard patriots of 1822, who were imprisoned in Spiel- 
berg. Maroncelli became sick ; Francis refused permission 
for the martyr to be visited by a skilful physician, reply- 
ing to all entreaties, that the governor of the dungeon 
was to take care of the health of his prisoner, who finally 
paid by the amputation of a leg for the ferocity of the 
Hapsburg. So Judge Kane replied to all solicitations on 
account of his prisoner, that the United States marshal 
had to take care of the good health of Williamson. The 
pressure of public indignation forced the judge to open the 
dungeon, but he displayed as much ferocity as was allowed 
by the state of society wherein he lives. Francis I. was 
a despot, born and educated in the idea that his will was 
superior to the laws, and that he could deal with men ac- 
cording to his pleasure. The American judge deliberately 
abused a power, freely intrusted to him by society, for its 
own well-being and security. Which of the two is the 
greater criminal ? 

Self-government developes self-consciousness in the 



private individual as well as in tlie whole people, or rather 
in spirit as in application, they act on, fructify and re- 
ciprocally support each other. In this intimate relation- 
ship and fusion, true self-government as the outward man- 
ifestation, requires and is based internally on a higher and 
purer morality, than can be possessed by any people, na- 
tion or community, submitted to a recognized superior 
power, tutored by the will of one or of a few, directed, 
ruled by kings or prophets. A blind faith is no faith at 
all, and not such a faith, but perception, reason, constitute 
manhood, make the man a moral and good being. Thus 
self-government is the highest assertion of the dignity of 
man ; it is the most powerful agency of human culture, is 
the most powerful stimulus of a productive, orderly ac- 
tivity. The rapid, well-regulated progress and develop- 
ment of American society in various directions, is the 
fruit of self-government and of its corollaries and comple- 
ments. Those communities and States of the American 
commonwealth, in which self-government is operative in 
its normal conditions, are far superior in morality, in cul- 
ture, in mental and material productiveness, in the spirit 
of order, to those communities where self-government, un- 
der the baneful influence of slaveocracy, has degenerated 
into violent and reckless self-will, or dwindled down to a 
sham, to a social lie. As light and warmth generate 
higher productions and vegetation, so self-government and 
self-consciousness generate higher comprehension and ap- 
preciation of mutual relations and duties. They melt 
down stupidity, evoke action, enterprise, stir up the ini- 
tiatory creative powers of a people. They are the cardi- 
nal conditions for individuals, as well as for a nation, of a 
vigorous, healthy, and thus of a superior activity. 

In no previous state and form of society, in no nation, 
has self-government constituted so fully as in America the 



cardinal element, tlie active spirit of political union. But 
even its imperfect application and the deficient attempts 
at its realization, made in European republics, have always 
evinced its superiority to the absolutely authoritative 
mode of conducting society. Notwithstanding all the de- 
ficiencies and aberrations from the absolute principle of 
self-government, in republics ruled by oligarchies and aris- 
tocracies, by corporations and guilds, the arts, mental and 
material culture, industry, commerce, evoked as by a 
spell, have taken an instantaneous start and growth ; while 
under the centralized power, where the tuition of the people 
has been carried out by the government, where authority, 
as the constitutive conception, prevails and rules, the pro- 
cess of culture and of civilization is toilsome and slow, 
Free communities and states — in spite of all their imper- 
fections — in general have accomplished an extensive pro- 
gress in as many decades, as in the case of the other re- 
quired centuries. 

Self-government, self-consciousness, necessitate a higher 
culture, and furnish motives for its spreading and expan- 
sion. They are the healthiest incentives of the energies 
of the individual and of the people. They alone convey 
the various powers of intelligent activity to various and 
congenial channels. All the so-called paternal regimes, 
all the strong centralized governments, seizing and appro- 
priating to themselves the right of initiative, often per- 
vert the faculties, falsify their nature and tendencies, and 
divert them forcibly from normal developments and pur- 
suits. All such governments are apt to decide rapidly on 
mischief, but are sluggish in introducing ameliorations, in 
initiating new conceptions, in carrying out beneficial meas- 
ures. Thus when a government hesitates, and its hesita- 
tion is occasioned by narrowmindedness, by conceit, by the 
spirit of envy, by the misunderstood tendency of self-preser- 



vation, by utter inability to disentangle itself from tbe 
meshes of ancient routine ; a self-governing people in- 
vents, creates, acts, selects, applies, makes experiments, 
arrives at results and marches onward without respite. 
The initiative, as well as the execution, is in the brains, 
in the might, in the hands of every member of the com- 
munity. A government watches and controls every pul- 
sation of intellect, regulates and therefore hinders and 
cramps every spontaneity and impulse, throws impedi- 
ments in the way of every enterprise. Governments re- 
semble lamplighters who maintain tlirougli their lamp- 
posts a scanty and limited, vacillating light ; in a self-gov- 
erning people it pours out freely from the aggregate mass 
of intellect ; radiates warmth in all directions, making 
darkness recede and ignorance disappear. 

Every thing great, beneficial, useful in America, is ac- 
complished without the action of the so-called government, 
notwithstanding even its popular, >self-governing character. 
Individual impulses, private enterprise, association, free 
activity, the initiative pouring everlastingly from within 
the people, are mostly substituted here for what in Euro- 
pean societies and nations forms the task of governments. 
Governmental or legislative action in America is limited 
to giving, in required cases, the legal formalities to asso- 
ciated or individual undertakings, or to using the pub- 
lic resources and administrative wheelworks, for ends 
pointed out, demanded and ordered by the will of the peo- 
ple. But by far the larger number of monuments, works 
and useful establishments, for industry, trade, for facilita- 
ting and spreading tuition and mental culture, universi- 
ties, schools and scientific establishments, are created and 
endowed by private enterprise, by private association, and 
by individual munificence. As there is no government in 
the strict European sense, or according to philosophical 



definitions, neither individuals separately, nor the aggre- 
gated people look to the government for such creations ; 
private association and enterprise — those corollaries of 
self government — untrammelled by governmental action, 
have covered the land with railways and canals, and when 
under the most enlightened government of Europe, that of 
Napoleon I., the scientific academy of France rejected the 
discovery of Fulton, it was seized and realized by private 
enterprise in America. Private enterprise has constructed 
iron tracks, and covered the soil with their networks at a 
time when the governments of Europe scarcely dared to 
make some few trials of this new mode of communica- 
tion. And all this was accomplished against heavy odds, 
in a country without sufficient hands to labor, with insuffi- 
cient capital. Hands and capital were provided, imported 
by the unrelenting energy of private enterprise. All this 
could not have been miraculously carried out, if the Amer- 
ican people had been accustomed to look to a government 
for the initiative, instead of taking it themselves. With- 
out the self-governing impulse, America would be mate- 
rially and socially a wilderness. 

The superiority of private enterprise over any so- 
called governmental centralizing action, is daily evidenced 
here. In many branches of administration the govern- 
ment remains behind what an individual enterprise ful- 
fils. Thus the carriage of letters and the whole branch ot 
postal administration, is successfully rivalled by private 
expresses. Many other administrative branches seem des- 
tined in the course of time, to be superseded by private 
enterprise. A time may come, when even armaments and 
armies may be levied on the account of states, but by pri- 
vate individuals. Armories and navy docks would to-day 
be better managed by private than they are by govern- 
mental administration. Even external relations are bet- 



ter secured by the numberless threads of private inter- 
ests, between America and Europe, which extend and 
cross each other, than by official representatives, or by the 
stipulations of treaties and conventions. 

Self-government harmonizes with one of the most sa- 
lient and all-absorbing features of the popular character. 
Americans are spurred on by what may be called a devour- 
ing mobility. Domestic ties, the affections of home and 
hearth, are powerless over the immense majority. Action 
carries them away, and they change with wonderful facil- 
ity spots, abodes, regions, and states. Most individuals 
on starting in life, have no attachment to this or that 
place, and plunge into the wilderness and distant solitudes ; 
establish there homes and change them again. Without 
this restlessness, America would not have expanded and 
become peopled, nor would civilization, culture have been 
spread over primitive forests, over prairies and valleys. 
But only among a free, self-conscious, self-governing peo- 
ple could this mobility, from beneath whose steps spring 
up communities and states, have had such beneficial signifi- 
cance ; as it is only in self-government that such charac- 
teristics of a people could find the adequate conditions for 
a free, untrammelled play. Mobility urges the American 
incessantly to work, to undertake, to spread, create, pro- 
duce. He could not wait for the permission or sanction of 
those urgings by a government, or submit to receive ad- 
vice, or move in the leading-strings of governmental di- 
rections. All this is wholly incompatible with the nature 
of the American, with his mental habits, as well as with 
the combination of circumstances around him. Events 
urged the first settlers not to attach themselves to spots, 
not to be soldered to them, but to extend, spread uninter- 
ruptedly farther and farther, to work and subdue lands 
and regions. Thus at the start was shaped out this fea- 



ture of character, and it was strengthened more and more 
in each successive generation. Self-consciousness was the 
natural compass of this mobility; they are intimately 
blended ; and mobility, thus creative and productive, forms 
one of the most vital nerves of self-government. 

The constructive action of self-government, its living 
force, its self-organizing power, and its active spirit of po- 
litical communion, its superiority in practical execution 
over theoretical conceptions and schemes, were evidenced 
in the organization of California. Nearly contemporary 
events in Europe showed, that men schooled in the self- 
governing townships of America, possess more constructive 
aptitude for organizing society than the theorists, the re- 
formers, the leaders of the European revolutions of 1848. 

The gold sands of California attracted at once the most 
reckless and adventurous characters from all parts of the 
globe. Auri sacra fames stirs up, even generates the 
worst passions. This incendiary, centrifugal conglomera- 
tion, repulsive to all organization, became a body politic, 
formed a state, a constitution, enacted laws for jurispru- 
dence and administration with the greatest ease, although 
surrounded by various impediments and difficulties. The 
men who constructed and organized this new commonwealth, 
had been practically trained in their old states in this so- 
cial architecture ; men mostly without names, unknown 
generally, and not trained in what would be called in Eu- 
rope, the higher statesmanship. In 1848 France and Ger- 
many attempted a renovation, a reinvigoration of society. 
In both countries the people, called for the first time to 
use its rights of suffrage, selected all prominent capacities 
in different departments. In Germany, as in France, 
statesmen, politicians, savants, reformers, men represent- 
ing the most advanced social conceptions and theories, 
were intrusted by the people with the task of erecting a 



new social and political structure. Learning, skill, expe- 
rience and higher mental accomplishments were called out. 
To be sure, California was a virgin soil, on which any 
structure could have been easily raised, while in Europe 
various and antagonistic elements were thrown together, 
and the social soil was encumbered in many ways. But 
at the start, in the first days of these revolutions, memo- 
rable for their miscarriage, the impediments were by no 
means so great ; the incapacity of the architects and build- 
ers gave them time to grow, to increase, to extend. In 
the first moment, the panic-struck representatives of the 
past, the kings and their retinue in Germany, were ready 
to yield to every demand, even to give up their power, and 
an immense majority of the French and of the German 
people, was prepared to carry out sternly the decisions of 
their representatives. There was originally little if any 
resistance, little if any retrograde pulling, and it could 
easily have been overpowered by a prompt, constructive 
action. . But the renovators of society at once lost them- 
selves in a labyrinth of theorems and discussions, losing 
precious time, and the prostrated enemy recovered spirits 
and strength. In France the masses slid out of the hands 
of the revolutionary leaders, because these showed an ut- 
ter incapacity of satisfying their direct interests and aspi- 
rations ; because they were unable to erect a new, social 
and political edifice, well adapted to the well-being of 
the masses. The same, to a far greater extent, was the 
case in Germany. And by the way, it may be observed, 
that the whinings of the men of 1848-49, in both coun- 
tries, about treason by their opponents, were childish and 
ridiculous. Kings, absolutists, conservatives of every 
hue, Bonapartists, royalists remained true to their nature, 
and did not belie it. It was childish to expect from any of 
them to co-operate sincerely in a social or political renova- 



tion. This they never could do. They were at war with 
the new and generous ideas, which were hateful to them ; 
they were on the defensive, and used all the tricks, strata- 
gems and means in their power to crawl upon, and then to 
crush, to strangle the enemy. The worse for the simple- 
minded, who trusted them, who rose to grapple with forces 
and events, while unequal to the task, destitute of prompt- 
ness in conception, destitute of energy in action. Europe 
therefore was groping in indecision and in darkness. The 
Americans go directly to positive, fixed solutions, evolving 
from a broad, normal principle. This enables them to 
found communities, and erect states as easily as houses. 
Europe vacillates between various principles and theories, 
and does not possess a fixed mode for their execution ; but 
nations exist through positive solutions, and not through 

The American social and political world possesses in 
its self-government a mode of solving all future questions, 
whatever may be their purport, nature and complication. 
As the present political union was the creation of the self- 
government, so, by a new evolution, a new formation may 
evolve out of this fruitful principle. Political forms, so- 
cial organizations, are progressive and perfectible, as is 
every thing belonging to the mental and intellectual man- 
ifestations. The creative power of the human spirit is 
inexhaustible, and in freedom, self-action, self-conscious- 
ness, man realizes himself in the outward world. Only 
the tendency to progress and perfectibility, is eternal and 
limitless in the race ; the scientific theories, the political 
forms and solutions are temporary, and subject to be al- 
tered, rejected and made afresh. In the field of natural 
science, new discoveries enrich the human mind, increase 
the human power and welfare, change and improve man's 
conditions of existence, remodel or create new bases for 



the scientific comprelierision of the creation. Social sci- 
ences are subject to like laws, and their solutions are not 
definite. What is considered as an ism in a century or 
rejected as such by a generation, becomes often a social 
or scientific truth, a theorem and fact for the following 
one. Christian Europe has more than once changed her 
political forms, her internal domestic social economy, her 
current of conceptions, of ideas. But all such changes, 
evolutions and transitions, were accomplished with more 
or less violent eruptions, commotions, and amid bloodshed 
and destruction. The normal and ordinary action of a ra- 
tional self-government is sufficient to carry out and to ac- 
complish in an orderly manner, any future changes and 
evolutions, marking the ascending social development and 
expansion of America. 

Social equality, the facility to acquire by individual 
exertions a social standing, the public and political life, 
open and accessible to every one, whatever may be his 
situation, his precedents, or occupation — provided he suc- 
ceeds in winning the confidence or the partiality of his fel- 
low-citizens ; all this combined, in free communities, cre- 
ates a powerful stimulus to personal ambition. Self-gov- 
ernment more than any other political form, widens the 
horizon and smooths the path for ambitious longings. 

Moralists and philosophers have been of old wont to 
represent ambition as one of the cardinal sources of all 
the evils which spread over and gnaw at humanity. But 
this passion is primordial, generally innate in our na- 
ture. It was and will remain one of the most powerful 
incentives of human action. It is indestructible, shoots 
out and reveals itself in various ways and modes. Only 
hypocrites can pass absolute condemnation upon what is 
intrinsically rooted in man. Society ought to be orga- 
nized in a manner not to debase and pervert, but to pu- 



rify and regulate, to combine harmoniously and bring to 
an equipoise the innate passions which stimulate the di- 
versified, all-absorbing activity of man. Society ought to 
procure ample scope for their normal expansion. Then 
ambition, as all other passions, innoxious in principle, will 
become beneficial and fruitful for social relations. In 
self-governing communities this balance and accord of cer- 
tain passions, at least, if not all of them, is nearer approached 
than in any other political form. In them even that kind 
of distorted ambition, which forms the subject of accusa- 
tions and complaints, is rendered less dangerous, less men- 
acing, and less subversive. The organization of society 
makes it impossible for political ambition to crawl long in 
the dark, and approach its end by crooked ways, to seize 
by surprise upon the masses, to drag the people, the na- 
tion forcibly, as an unconscious clump. Whatever efforts 
it may use to maintain secrecy , such an ambition is al- 
ways detected. Daylight exposes it. It must act under 
the eyes of all, under the argus-eyed publicity. It is to 
meet public opinion face to face ; it is watched and 
controlled on every winding and by-way. When words 
and actions are appreciated, judged and scrutinized pub- 
licly, and by all who are willing to do it, the power of ex- 
ercising blind attraction and sway is weakened and soon 
destroyed. Whatever may be the anthropological or social 
appreciation of the baneful or beneficial influence of the 
passions, unquestionably they are more easily regulated by 
expansion than by compression. x\mbition in a free com- 
munity necessarily moves in a purer air, and thus becomes 
less corrosive. Competition rubs off the venomous sting, 
hollowness runs rapidly through its course, breaking in 
pieces by its own emptiness. Public life — the possible lot 
of every one — evokes ambitions from all sides, and these 
check each other. The more openings for ambition, the 



easier the outlet, the less danger of violent explosions, or 
of dark, secret, corrupting dealings and designs. 

Ambition in itself, in its normal state is a lever and a 
ferment, whose action benefits humanity. Ambition and 
love are almost inseparable. Intense love of any object 
whatever, makes the individual bent on success, desirous 
of elevating this object above all others, makes him ambi- 
tious. Love and ambition for science have inspired all 
the great discoverers of the laws and of the forces of na- 
ture. Ambition urged Columbus to penetrate into un- 
known immensities of space. Love for the good, and am- 
bition to be benefactors of their brethren, illuminated the 
moralists. Whoever has the consciousness of powers of 
whatever reach and nature, is ambitious to produce them, 
to make them creative and useful, to win acknowledgment. 
Whoever has faith in himself, in his convictions and prin- 
ciples, has the ambition to make them prevail. Whoever 
feels himself capable of doing good, will have the ambi- 
tion to obtain assent, and by it the power to carry out 
his conceptions. Whoever acts and produces, aims unin- 
terruptedly at reaching a superior degree, is ambitious of 
perfection, and thus of surpassing his equals, his competi- 

In a distorted social state, ambition, like most other 
passions, has its weak, shadowy and dark sides. It often 
takes root in an impure soil. When pouring out from a 
muddy fountain, then its course poisons or tarnishes. His- 
tory bristles with evidences of those unscrupulous, ac- 
cursed ambitions, which have so often imbrued her annals 
in blood. Such an ambition does not aim at winning con- 
victions, but at depraving them ; it aims at subduing to 
its will the will of others. But in communities based on 
reason, on publicity, on culture, on self- consciousness and 
self-government, the subterranean furrowings of such ambi- 



tions are less dangerous, and their final supremacy is to the 
utmost degree difficult, if not. wholly impossible. Ambi- 
tious but depraved politicians in republics, appeal to and 
stir up the most degraded passions and appetites ; they evoke 
to the surface, to action, what was slumbering or hidden 
under self-conscious shame. Thus they succeed. But 
their success is generally short. Their course runs rapidly 
through. The evil perpetrated by them prepares their fall. 
If the people becomes for a moment charmed by the con- 
jurer, it soon recovers self-control. The better nature 
wins the upper hand, and the ambitious schemer preserves 
influence only over the refuse of the community. Such 
ambitions are sooner or later dissolved by the rays of 
light, in the crucible of publicity, among populations used 
to investigate, analyze and judge every member of society. 
In those republics which have been centralized in one single 
city or spot, an unprincipled, ambitious leader could seize 
at a stroke, and delude the masses in the forum, deciding 
in a state of excitement. So he could extort from them 
their assent, and involve the country in complications, 
overthrow the laws, change the form of the government. 
But in the thoroughly decentralized American common- 
wealth, such surprise of the public conscience, such suc- 
cess is mentally and materially impossible. The ambition 
of a despot, of a monarch, of ruling oligarchies and aris- 
tocracies, have been always mischief-brewing, as action 
succeeded to secret decisions, without discussion. An 
ambitious adviser or minister can seize upon the willing 
ear of the monarch, and shake the corner-stones of his own 
and other countries for personal elevation, but not thus easy 
is the task of politicians, who are surrounded by publicity, 
and depend on the assent of many. In the American com- 
munities, ambition must exclusively recur to the use of 
mental rather than material means. She must bribe by 



flattery, if not by conviction, rather than by material 
advantages. The ambitious must convince the intellect, 
or corrupt it, a work easy with few, but rather difficult 
with masses. Here ambition cannot reckon on the sup- 
port of stupified tools, on that of brute force, on that of 
legionaries or bayonets. Even if the masses of people 
are momentarily carried away, intoxication evaporates, 
and self-interest restores the balance. A Pisistratus, a 
Caesar, a Napoleon, even a Cromwell could not succeed 
among the American centrifugal communities. Generally 
the eyes of the people, though they might be easily daz- 
zled for a nioment, see clear on a cloudy day. 

Self-government in its full action and development 
fosters ambition, nay, makes it necessary and unavoidable. 
But it possesses within itself the most efficient correc- 
tives, neutralizing aberrations, stopping, levelling and dry- 
ing up the devastating current. 

Various are the social and external influences which bear 
and press upon the holder of power, upon the government, 
and which share it directly or indirectly with the mon- 
arch, limited or absolute. In oligarchical and aristocratic 
republics some families preponderate, and have generally 
divided between themselves the cares and advantages of 
supreme rule. The same elements surround the thrones, 
and they influence the supreme decisions, the adminis- 
tration of enacted laws, and make their interests prevail 
supremely over that of the rest of the subjects. The 
landed or financial wealth of the country, that represented 
by commerce, industry, manufactures, all of them in some 
way or other group around the power, centre in the capi- 
tal, as are attracted and absorbed by it, the various intel- 
lects, those representatives of the mental expansion of the 
country. Thus the seat of government is surrounded by 
the most eminent and preponderating compounds of the 



nation, by various concentrated interests, and receives 
from them inspiration, impulsion. The European capi- 
tals, forming the foci of the various resources and powers 
of the state, react on the government in the same propor- 
tion as they in their turn are materially and socially af- 
fected by the personality of the sovereign, by that of the 
court, of the officials, of the aristocracy. The ingredi- 
ents thus combined and fermenting surround, to a great 
degree, and control the decisions and actions of legisla- 
tive bodies. The various interests concentrated in the 
capitals, use the centralization in the same way as the 
governments. Grenerally all of them, but above all the 
aristocratic and the financial, combine with and support 
each other. The elective franchise every where, even in 
England, is for the most part absorbed in or directed from 
the capital, by the like combinations. By various ways 
and means the decisions of the centre, of the capital, are 
conveyed to the country, the elective bodies receive the 
password, and elect individuals pointed out to them either 
by the government or by the opposition. 

In the formation as well as in the practical operation of 
the administration of the American commonwealth, and 
also in the formation of the legislative bodies, such influ- 
ences, such modes of action are wholly impossible. Here 
the great cities are generally commercial emporiums, but 
often are not the capitals of the respective States, nor the 
seat of the government and of the legislatures. Those 
legislatures represent in immense majorities the country, 
its population, opinions and interests, and remain wholly 
independent of the pressure exercised by large cities, and 
by interests concentrated therein. Worldly social cote- 
ries — as is the case in European capitals — cannot there- 
fore seize upon the representatives, circumvent them, and 
iuake them subservient to special ends. The administra- 



tion and the legislature thus operate with more ease, are, 
so to speak, in a purer atmosphere, are not controlled 
and commanded as in Europe ; and generally the interests 
of the country, that is of the majority, of the genuine 
people or nation, are paramount in the governmental and 
legislative action, overruling in case of conflict, the spe- 
cial interest of large cities. 

The public service is coveted by aristocratic, by rich 
and influential individuals in Europe, on account of its sta- 
bility of influence, and of other material advantages as well 
as on account of the social elevated distinction which it 
confers in societies, where the government and the ruling 
power form their keystone, their superior stratum. Public 
life, official position satisfy the cravings of vanity, clear up 
the existing social or conventional inequalities, and procure 
access to the highest social circles. Thus many of those 
who by a successful and industrious activity, have become 
artisans of their fortune, and secured wealth and independ- 
ence — or those who by mental productiveness have rendered 
their names illustrious in science, arts, literature, aspire 
finally to public life, considering it as the supreme con- 
secration of their laborious career. Through it they ac- 
quire influence, standing, ballast and consideration in a 
society still constituted out of aristocratic elements, still 
divided and classified according to certain positive, well 
defined and formal distinctions. In America, where the 
mass of influence is scattered among the people, and not 
condensed in a caste, in a civil hierarchy, or in a class, in- 
centives and attractions, similar to those which prevail in 
Europe, disappear. Decentralization operates beneficially 
again in this, preserving the administrative branches from 
many contaminating influences and contacts. The cities 
or capitals of States are thus brought more directly under 
the influence of the country, more into a social and socia- 



ble intercourse witli it than with the great commercial 
metropolis. Thus even the city of New York, one of the 
greatest centres of the civilized and commercial world, 
influences very slightly, if at all, the government of the 
State, or the population. Grovernment in the American re- 
publics is not a power capable of conferring any stable so- 
cial distinctions which do not exist in the political structure. 
Thus men who have acquired fortunes by commerce or in- 
dustry, rarely take a direct and decided part in public 
affairs, although they participate actively in the general 
current of political life. They do not come before the 
public because they feel their incapacity for a new ca- 
reer, and want those special gifts required to secure pop- 
ularity with the masses. Thus, contrary to what takes 
place in Europe, American legislatures rarely count among 
their members those representatives of argyrocracy, the 
only real superiority in the social conditions and grada- 
tions ; and these bodies are thus less easily vitiated than 
the representative houses in Europe. The general and 
various elements, interests and occupations are really rep- 
resented by artisans, operatives, farmers and professional 
men, and this to the fullest extent — a case rare and almost 
exceptional in Europe, even in England, where the nobili- 
ty and gentry still form in parliament a large dispropor- 
tion over the other classes and positions. 

As in America only individuals residing in reality in 
the townships and districts can become elected to legis- 
lative functions, the elections cannot fall into the hands 
of committees such as are generally formed in European 
capitals, and impose their choice on the choice of the 
people. The American law and mode presents, there- 
fore, one more barrier against centralization, one more 
guarantee of self-government. Members thus elected rep- 
resent really the various needs, opinions and interests of 



their constituents, who make their choice with full knowl- 
edge of the elected, guided by their own judgment — for 
which in Europe is often substituted the bidding of a par- 
■\y, directing from one centre the popular decision. Thus 
the influence of a party, of a coterie, is often substituted 
for the free manifestation of the popular choice ; and the 
elected representatives often support the interests patro- 
nizing them, instead of the true interests of the masses. 
Every one is familiar with the mode of proceeding and of 
vitiating the immediate expression of the popular will 
which is used by political parties in England. In France 
jven during the short democratic exaltation of 1848, the 
central influence over the sufi'rage of the people was not 
given up, and the centralization preserved its hold. The 
celebrated admonitory circular of Carnot, then minister 
of public instruction, advising the rural population to elect 
for the national assembly members immediately from 
among themselves, was received with general animadver- 
sion by politicians and statesman, and was even condemned 
by the most decided reformers and apostles of the rights 
of the people. It was considered as a political crime, 
what in American communities is a natural result of de- 
mocracy, decentralization, and of self-government. 

As the capitals of the various States are not composed 
of the same ingredients as those of Europe, in the same 
way the capital of the Union, AVashington, the seat of the 
Federal Government, bears no resemblance to the capi- 
tals of European states. It exists and depends wholly 
upon the Union, that is upon Congress, and thus receives 
materially and mentally its vitality from without. As a 
capital Washington is wholly subject to the influences 
which congregate there from all parts, and represent the 
opinions and social functions of the whole nation. The 
political as well as the social tone is given by the national 



representatives, and not by caste grouped eternally around 
the ruling power. Wealth again is scarcely represented in 
Congress. The composition of Congress corresponds to 
that of the State legislatures, as those for the most part 
form the stepping-stone for the former. 

The various influences pointed out above as bearing 
upon the government in European states, are superseded 
in America — above all around Congress — by that of the 
so-called politicians, a plant of special growth, a sprout- 
ing out principally from the fermentation of free insti- 
tutions. These politicians are the levers, the channels, 
but as often the managers of the public spirit. They cor- 
respond to the misused and common denomination of dem- 
agogues. Their existence in the present operation of 
democratic institutions is however unavoidable. If evils 
they are, they are necessary evils, canvassers and convey- 
ances of the public wishes, of public opinion, which often 
they stir up, awaken, stimulate, and as often falsify. They 
are the real or presumed leaders of opinion in townships, 
districts and States, but they again depend upon the opin- 
ion, upon the good will, the confidence of those whom they 
lead. However baneful often may be their influence and 
doings, still the origin, the source, is democratic, and there- 
fore unstable, and can be easily changed and overthrown, 
— and from this point of view the politicians can never 
demoralize or pervert a government or the people to the 
same extent, as can be done by the open or secret machi- 
nations of a hereditary deep-rooted aristocracy, the bur- 
rowing of the roots of absolute power, or the corrupting 
breath of the concentrated moneyed corporations, bankers, 
brokers and exchangers. 

The working of self-government is an uninterrupted 
trial. Over the deep and firm principle, the fluctuations 
of opinion rise on the surface. They are incessant, they 



seemingly change, modify or transform the surface, carry- 
ing away individuals and masses. Stability reposes in 
public-mindedness. It is therefore the vital atmosphere ; 
without it self-government must dwindle and die out. 
And public-mindedness and an intense interest in general 
affairs animates the masses, as well as the most of those 
whom the turn of fortune has elevated above the general 
level. If even the immense majority of the men who 
possess wealth do not directly try to enter upon a public 
career, they nevertheless are interested more or less deeply 
in public policy, in general questions. The most eminent 
intellects, the most cultivated minds, not only do not keep 
aloof from the general current, but often contribute tq 
throw light upon questions of general significance and in- 
terest. The existing political biases are only poor, ex- 
hausted, narrow-minded individuals, who, under this as- 
sumed afi'ectation of disgust or apathy, cover disappoint- 
ment or mental deficiency. Some European writers seem 
to be under the impression that in general, political activ- 
ity is abandoned by the so-called superior minds to 
turbulent, unprincipled, impure meddlers — that better 
men shrink in disgust from the doings of a popular govern- 
ment. This state of apathy has not seized however upon 
spirits of real vitality and power. The immense majority 
throughout all the- various social conditions, — rich and 
poor, — feel too well that states become truly great and 
powerful when each single individual considers himself a 
link and an active member in the great whole, and does 
not avoid or even hesitate to bear individually his part of 
the public burdens, to contribute in a special way to the 
work which aims at the good of the community. 

Nowhere in the political and governmental structure 
of the American commonwealth, any more than in social 
and mental development, are to be met the centres which 



attract and keep together tlie people by mental and mate- 
rial chains and links, like those in other states and nations, 
directing, and giving impulsion, nay even absorbing the va- 
rious activities of the population. Upon such centres de- 
pended and still depend the societies of the European world; 
these centres have various names and functions; they form 
the authoritative pivots on which turn and group the whole 
system of social forces. They are the foci of light, the 
hearts or the heads of the social bodies. Society and its 
philosophers still firmly believe in their unavoidable ne- 
cessity. It would seem therefore that the American com- 
munities ought to dissolve, being continually under the 
centrifugal action of those atoms of independent, individ- 
ual sovereignty. But as attraction is the all-powerful, al- 
beit invisible band of the sidereal and planetary creation ; 
so the free association and combination of forces, of inter- 
ests, of rights and of duties, — and the generality of mental 
culture, those fruits of freedom — are the invisible '<3ements 
of the American communities. 

Self-government is the healthy, everlasting maturity, 
is the full manhood of man in the social state. All facul- 
ties and powers develope themselves therein to a vigorous 
activity. Youthful not senile maturity is the cardinal 
condition of progress and growth in the mental as in the 
material world. On youthful maturity therefore depends 
the mental development, as well as the destinies of society. 
All the great actions in history, as well as nearly all great 
ideas, conceptions, discoveries, the loftiest inspirations in 
arts and poetry, have been accomplished in the prime of 
years, and before the turn, the approach to old age. Self- 
governing society alone can, so to say, arrest and perpetu- 
ate the duration of this pithy and rich social and mental 
productivity ; an epoch for man as well as for society, of 
lofty and generous impulses, of high creations and noble 



and salutary decisions. Senility in man or society pro- 
duces diffidence and pusillanimity, conceit and inactivity, 
extinguishes faith in ideas and convictions, and attempts 
to arrest movement and progress, to bring the world of 
ideas and of creative productions, together with the social 
development, to a stand-still, to reduce all in nature to a 
routine. Senility alone despairs of the efficacy of self- 

The pliancy, elasticity and expansiveness of self-'gov-* 
ernment render it eminently adapted to self-development 
and to higher progressive solutions. Thus already the new 
States growing up in the West, in many of their constitu- 
tive structures and institutions, show a progress over 
their models in the East, adapting them to new combina- 
tions and conditions. These Western States, the purest 
offshoots of national self-consciousness, assert their origin 
more boldly than their generators. They have no other 
traditions, no past, no historical connection with the colo- 
nial state of dependency in political, any more than in 
mental and material relations. In the West, therefore, is 
to be given the fullest expression and solution of all the 
mental and social terms and combinations evoked, created 
by the inauguration of this new epoch of pure self-gov- 
erning democracy. No definitive progress or ameliora- 
tion hitherto marks any of the liberal European institu- 
tions, modelled either on the English type or on that of 
the French era of 1793. And the reason may be, that 
those imitations are always introduced ready-made, and 
introduced authoritatively, either by kings or by social or 
political reformers and theorists, without direct participa- 
tion of the people, of the public reason and sense. But 
each new constitution of a free self-governing State, framed 
by the direct action of the people, is generally a marked 
amelioration, and contains a broader conception of wants 



as well as of conditions, tban did the older preceding 

■ Self-government therefore, in the succession of ages, 
considered as an effort of humanity for the advance- 
ment and amelioration of her social structure and rela- 
tions, is the highest product, soaring above all its preced- 
ing forms ; forms more or less vital and inherent to society, 
and all which in given epochs served to facilitate or pro- 
tect its growth and development. Self-government stands 
firmly the test of philosophical analysis, answers the most 
transcendent speculations. And if humanity is to be 
modelled according to abstract types, self-government is 
its present most perfect typical form. It stands the test 
and the trial of practical execution and application, as well 
as that even of the most practical and direct availability. 
It may have its epochs of terrible and dangerous proba- 
tion, of tension and even of crepitation ; but such menacing 
epochs — a common lot of vigor and life — will find in the 
principle itself the soothing cure. Its imperfections and 
deficiencies disappear when compared with the pre-existent 
social forms, and can only be found salient when compared 
with a new and higher standard, and thus for the time a 
relatively ideal one. All the other social constitutive 
ideas of the past are exhausted, effete, worn out, degene- 
rated, disordered, honey-combed through and through, and 
finally powerless and unproductive. All of them look up 
from below to the American system, expecting from it a 
higher solution and salvation, all — whatever may be the 
conceit and the hypocrisy of their representatives and 
mouth-pieces — acknowledge that the American original 
self-governing system has already reached regions of higher 
purity and serenity, and accordingly more favorable to the 
health and development of the human race. 





It is tlie lot of tlie American Union to represent man in 
his highest and nearly typical social development, by the 
side of the most appalling degradation. It is the lot of 
American institutions to evince that the noblest realiza- 
tion of freedom, the purest conception of manhood hitherto 
known, can be marred, distorted and prostituted. At the 
side of the highest solutions attainable by society in its 
present stage, as manifested in democracy, in self-govern- 
ment, in the elevation and consecration of labor in its all- 
embracing sense, as the loftiest social function, there 
stands Slavery, with its degrading, agonizing contradic- 
tions. There it stands, bidding defiance to the moral sense 
of humanity, to religious conceptions, to civilization, to 
social progress ; — bidding defiance to the universal condem- 
nation transmitted by past ages, and repeated more and 
more loudly by the European, that is, by the civilized 
world. There it stands, perverting and debasing all the 
cardinal notions of American social and political associa- 
tion; notions which alone constitute its intrinsic worth. 
There stands slavery, poisoning in the substance the prom- 
ises anticipated by our race, from the fruition of seeds which 
have been here scattered broadcast by reason, conscience 
and freedom. 




Slavery, as now maintained in the States of the Union, 
as it has eaten itself, not only into the political and muni- 
cipal institutions, but into social, domestic and family life, 
into the mind, the conscience, the judgment, the reason- 
ings, the religion, the human and animal feelings, the com- 
prehension of the rights, obligations, and duties of a man, of 
a citizen, of a member of society, as it has permeated those 
devoted to its growth and preservation ;-— in one word, this 
modern American slavery differs wholly from what, under 
a similar name, has prevailed during past ages in Asia or 
Europe. It bears no resemblance to the slavery of anti- 
quity, nor to the slavery and serfdom known in Europe. 
From the legendary or historical origin of society in the 
remotest antiquity, from the primitive formation of nations 
and empires in the East, down to Greece, Rome and mod- 
ern Europe, never has slavery been made the j)aramount 
condition and question of social structure, of political and 
domestic economy. Nowhere has slavery so fully over- 
loaded and absorbed the political atmosphere as in the 
American Commonwealth. Nowhere does its hideous 
spectre face the investigator, the observer, on every step, 
in every political move, development or complication. 
Nowhere has slavery been the source, the reason or the 
occasion for struggles between states, friendly or inimical. 
Never has it formed the main attraction for obtaining 
the supreme power, or has it been the final object for the 
direction of the internal and external affairs of a nation. 
The conquerors of the past, from the mythical Nimrod to 
the last of the Roman Emperors, those who tower over 
the history of European nations, did not levy wars and 
imbrue the earth, did not overthrow empires, subduing 
nations and territories, for the sake of extending domes- 
tic and municipal slavery. In all times, in all nations, 
in all religions, in all theories, slavery has been consid- 



ered as a painful sore in the social body and organism ; 
for the first time in the history of the race, slavery is 
hailed as the substance of all human, social, and political 

Not in the anti-slavery or abolitionist literature, not 
in the various anti-slavery utterances and manifestations, 
did I study and become acquainted with American slavery. 
That literature is wholly unknown to me, as are personally 
unknown the foremost leaders of the abolition party. I 
have scarcely ever been present at any abolition or even 
anti-slavery lecture, oration or meeting; and never has 
slavery formed a subject of my conversations with Theo- 
dore Parker, Sumner, Phillips, or any of the persons to 
whom I have been attracted by a congenial turn of mind 
and feeling, by similar convictions, studies and pursuits. 
Mr, Calhoun's Works and Speeches have been the object of 
my conscientious study. As far as possible I have tried to 
master the pro-slavery literature. Political speeches, statis- 
tical, philosophical, historical, economical, pro-slavery dis- 
quisitions, sermons, orations, tracts, reasonings, justifica- 
tions, defences, explanations, are the sources in which I 
have studied American slavery. The legislative enact- 
ments, the laws of the slavery States, the pro-slavery press 
South and North, the actions and tone of political men, 
have been for me the exponents of the working of slavery. 

Neither in any way do I intend to advocate an imme- 
diate, direct, absolute emancipation of the enslaved race. 
Such a violent passage from a domestic state on which re- 
poses the economic husbandry of the southern part of the 
Union, and with which agricultural and commercial in- 
terests are thus variously intertwined and connected to- 
gether, a passage without previous preparatory measures, 
without a gradual transition, would produce inexpressible 
evil, ruin and destruction. Even for the enjoyment of or- 



derly liberty a previous apprenticesliip ouglit to be made. 
The more so, when millions of men are to be reinstated in 
rights, after having been for generations systematically de- 
graded to a condition scarcely above the brutes, which 
scarcely recognizes in them any human and social quali- 
ties. But if the disorder is not at once curable, its corro- 
sive character and influence ought the more to be exposed. 

Reason, religion, morality, knowledge, study, the sci- 
ences, history, economy, the social, domestic and family 
relations, all converge to one focus. All are valued only 
so far as they authorize or justify slavery, in the conception 
and appreciation of its apostles, supporters, and disciples. 
Its corrosion gnaws equally at the products of mental and 
material labor, and the intellectual domain is blighted by 
its theories in the same degree as the earth's surface. This 
mental distortion strikes not only individuals, but is chron- 
ically rooted in generations, and thus stretches far out 
into the future. The normal healthy state of reason on 
the subject of slavery is affected for long years to come. 
Thus logic, learning, conscience are twisted, put on the 
rack, to extort from them evidences in favor of slavery. 
Unwillingly one touches and stirs this mental and intel- 
lectual putrefaction. 

The African race is doomed to eternal slavery, main- 
tain the theorists of bondage ; and this, they assert, is 
proved by the inferiority of that race, by its historical in- 
significance throughout the whole existence, throughout 
the whole history of the human family. 

But the African kept in bondage in America, was not 
conquered by his present master on his own soil. The 
African was sold to the white man into slavery as a victim, 
as a prisoner of war, by another victorious African. In the 
same way slavery has been established and maintained 
throughout the world, from the remotest times. All the 



races and tribes of Asia and Europe, for long centuries, 
have thus had their periods of slavery ; all were conquered, 
and the prisoners of war, nay often whole cities and dis- 
tricts, were sold by the victors into slavery. And from 
these facts and partial events, which have occurred re- 
peatedly, the conclusion might have been drawn that the 
white race, or some of its branches, have been at those re- 
mote epochs likewise doomed by an absolute law to slavery. 

The destinies, the qualities, the mental capacities of 
the African race, in equity as well as in logic, cannot be 
comprehended, judged, and appreciated from the part of it 
which is kept in bondage, transformed into chattels on this 
continent. Those are debased by slavery, and thus find 
themselves not only in an abnormal state, but in one which 
at once destroys manhood and the mental capacities. 
Slavery forcibly reduces them to a condition far inferior 
to that of the animals. Not from crippled nature can be 
drawn the criteria of its power. 

If the absolute mental inferiority of the African race 
should be even an incontestable fact, established by the 
history of this branch of the human family, there are many 
reasons for which this inferiority ought to be considered 
as transient and not definite. Those who admit the aims 
and the direct interference of God in the management of 
human afiPairs, ought not to have left unobserved the fol- 
lowing facts. According to their creed, God distributed 
men over the earth, and assigned to races, families, tribes, 
various and distinct continents and regions. In this dis- 
tribution, he has given to the black race for their special 
use a great and rich continent. For uncounted ages the 
other races, above all the white one, either Semitic or Ja- 
phetic, or Indo-European, have attempted to conquer and 
get hold of Africa, invading it on all sides ; and still this 
invasion remains limited mostly to the outskirts of that 



part of the globe. Only in the northern strip have the 
invading races succeeded in getting a firm footing, in es- 
tablishing themselves definitively. The European takes 
hold and domiciliates himself over the earth, penetrates 
and subsists in all climates, nearly under the poles and 
under the tropics, on the equatorial line of Asia and 
America ; — but hitherto Africa is his tomb. In the same 
latitudes he has subdued the aborigines of Asia and Amer- 
ica ; but in Africa the natives as well as the soil resist 
him. Nature or providence seems to watch jealously over 
Africa and say to the European, " Do not penetrate here 
under pain of death." The aborigines of the American 
continent, the Australians, the Polynesians, and other 
primitive occupants of various points of the globe, disap- 
pear, melt before the advancing European, before the 
white race. The African preserves and maintains his 
rights, his patrimony. If Grod therefore husbands the des- 
tinies of races, then this impenetrability of Africa, this in- 
destructibility of its inhabitants, is not accidental ; — it is 
the result of higher designs, inaccessible to man's penetra- 
tion. Time will disclose them. Time will draw aside 
some of the folds of the curtain which veils the future des- 
tinies of the human family. History has in its recesses 
inexhaustible events and apparitions. Allusion has al- 
ready been made to the cardinal historical law, that of the 
successive appearance and development of races, families, 
nations, and states. The future of the African race may 
be protected by that law. The blacks are now, and have 
been, as it is commonly maintained, for countless centuries 
brutes and savages. But what is this period even of forty 
centuries in the infinite course of the ages ? Thirty, and 
even twenty centuries ago, portions of the Celts, Germans, 
Scandinavians, Saxons, who made human sacrifices to their 
deities, were in a state not very different from that of the 



Africans. They drank from the skulls of their enemies ; 
some Caledonian tribes were anthropophagi, and all of 
them were savages, murderers, enslaving each other, pi- 
rates, and robbers. It may be doubted if the African 
tribes surpass all others in savagery, through which the 
human race passed, previous to appearing in history, pre- 
vious to entering in part on a new and superior stage. 
Italy was once inhabited by anthropophagi. Two thou- 
sand years ago darkness prevailed over Germany, over 
the north of Europe ; and two thousand years hence Africa 
may probabty shine with civilization. 

Those who see in the Scriptures something more than 
a fragment of the oldest historical records, deduce from 
the progeny of Ham the whole African or black race. 
But the same scriptural records establish, and the primi- 
tive legendary recollections of the East confirm the fact, 
that these descendants of Ham founded the first empires 
and cities, and thus, it can be said, originated polity and 
civilization. The Hamites or Cushites extended over 
Asia Minor, Syria, Persia, along the Persian Gulf to the 
Indian peninsula. So speak myths, analogy, and the roots 
of names of places and ancient cities, and the most remote 
traditions. JSfimrod and his progeny were Hamites, and 
around the mouth of the Tigris, of the Euphrates, down to 
that of the Indus, originally dwelt the black, or, as now 
called, the African brotherhood. The Persian Gulf was 
called in remote antiquity the Ethiopian Sea. There the 
Cushite ruled over the whites and intermixed with them ; 
und the great Eastern founder of the first empire, whom the 
dim Eastern and Persian legends call Zohack, was in all 
probability at the utmost a mulatto, Semiramide, his 
mother, being of the white, then the subjugated stock. 
This immense empire was subsequently overthrown, con- 
quered and superseded by men descending from the south- 



em slopes of the Paropamisian Range, now Hindoo-Rosh 
or Himmalaya, fi-om the table-lands of Iran, and bringing 
with them in the conquered regions their Pehlvi and San- 
scrit language, the mother of all European dialects. Those 
conquerors were the Indo-Europeans, the common ancestry 
of the European nations. In times so remote as hardly to 
be reached by positive chronology, this first conquest is to 
be discerned. These Arrians subdued nations livinor aloncf 
the Euphrates and the Indus, nations already enjoying 
culture and civilization, while the invaders were savage 
hordes. The Chinese records mention this event, and 
their testimony confirms the physiological differences of 
the two races. They call the Indo-Europeans or Arrians 
horse-faced, on account of the oval form of their face. 
The Cushites who inhabited the slopes of Himmalaya 
along the Indus, and whom the Arrians invaded, are called 
by the Chinese the monkey-faced. The Mongolian or 
round-faced, or, as others call them, Turanians, aided the 
Arrians in their conquest. These Chinese records coin- 
cide with the remotest Persian traditions. 

The Cushites were likewise the inhabitants of the 
Nile, as were the Ethiopians. The ancient Egyptians 
were not of Semitic origin, nor does their language or civi- 
lization connect them with any of the aboriginal Asiatic 
races. The descendants of the Egyptian colonists planted 
in Kolchis by Sesostris or Ramses, preserved for long 
generations the characteristics of the African race, dark 
complexion, and black, crisped hair. The kings of the 
eighteenth and nineteenth dynasty have a decided negro 
type, as shown in the statues of Tutmes III. and Ameno- 
phis III. preserved in the British Museum in London. 
Resides, the testimony of Herodotus is paramount for me 
to all others, and every modern historical discovery and 
research always confirms the veracity, the authority of the 



father of history. And Herodotus says " that the Egyp- 
tians were black, and had short, crisped hair, and that the 
skulls of the Egyptians were by far thicker than those of 
the Persians ; that they could scarcely be broken by a big 
stone, while a Persian skull could be broken by a pebble." 
All these characteristics mark principally the African or 
the Negro race. Subsequently the continual influx of 
iVsiatics and Europeans, as was observed by Volney, might 
have modified or changed the populations of Egypt, and 
produced a mongrel creation.* Under the Persian kings 
of the lineage of Achaemenes, blacks as ministers, sa- 
traps, ruled and exercised a powerful influence over the 
great Persian empire. A black eunuch, Bagoas, put on 
the Persian throne Darius Codomannus, vanquished by 
Alexander. A black, Batis, governor of Graza, was the 
only one who, by his military skill and courage, defeated 
some time and arrested the conquering career of Alexan- 
der, the greatest military leader of past or modern times, f 

The predestination of the African race to eternal 
slavery is based in pro-slavery theories on the fact, that 
the African populations are enslaved on their own soil. 
But such has been the lot at various epochs of nearly all 

* Numbers of Jews have the greatest resemblance to the American 
mulattoes. Sallow carnation complexion, thick lips, crisped black 
hair. Of all the Jewish population scattered over the globe, one 
fourth dwells in ancient Poland. I am therefore well acquainted with 
their features. On my arrival in this country I took every light-co- 
lored mulatto for a Jew. Could not these Jewish mulattoes have de- 
scended from some crossing between the Jews and the Egyptians at 
a time previous to the Exodus ? 

t Alexander was superior even to Napoleon in foresight, as well as 
in having won not only pitched battles, but taken by siege cities 
whose fortifications were by nature and art the strongest known, of 
their kind. Napoleon, with the exception of Toulon, never directed 
the siege of a fortress. 




the other races on the earth, and above all in Europe. 
They likewise, as are now the Negro tribes, were for gene- 
rations and centuries kept in bondage by rulers and masters 
of their own kind, or by others conquering and subduing 
them. So, after the overthrow of the Koman Empire, the 
populations of Italy, Gallia, Spain, were enslaved by the 
conquerors. Slavery existed among the German races, 
among the Anglo-Saxons before and after they conquered 
Britain. Very likely the greatest part of the ancestry 
of the settlers and actual slaveholders were once slaves, 
and wore for generations the iron collar, with the name of 
their Saxon — kindred in blood — masters ; or as boors and 
villeins were treated with the same cruel contempt by the 
Norman conquerors, as the blacks are treated here by 
those descendants of once oppressed serfs. History does 
not generally sustain the pretensions of the southern oli- 
garchs to their descent from Cavaliers. For centuries the 
nobility of all the European nations considered as impure 
and contaminating the blood, any connection or alliance 
with burghers or peasants, to whom, according to Euro- 
pean classifications, belong the white inhabitants of the 
United States. A southerner cannot feel more repul- 
sion to alliance with a black, than was felt once by a 
haughty nobleman, careful of his purity of blood, to an 
affinity or connection with an ignoble family. There still 
exist many aristocratical families in Europe who nourish 
this prejudice. 

The African despots sell their subjects or their prison- 
ers into slavery. But, as has been already mentioned, 
such was the custom from uncounted ages in the ancient 
and in the modern European world. The Elector of Hesse 
sold to England his subjects to fight against America. Is 
it to be inferred that Hessians are predestined to eternal 
bondage ? 



To the enslaved race on this continent are denied the 
higher faculties of the mind and of the soul, which are 
common to the other inhabitants of the globe. If it should 
be really so — which however is not the case — it is the 
bondage which has crushed, rooted out or nipped in the 
bud all the germs of those faculties. The mental inferi- 
ority of the African does not differ much from the inferior- 
ity in which groped and lingered all the other races and 
families, before their turn came to issue from darkness. 
The African has latent all the powers with which man is 
endowed. If those germs are not active, or are inferior 
in intensity and expansion, nevertheless they exist. The 
African speaks, thinks, believes, loves, hates, reasons, com- 
prehends, and therefore he is capable of being initiated 
into a higher life. However distant the hour of initiation 
may be, strike it will for the African race. Impartial 
scientific men, who do not theorize for the support or justi- 
fication of slavery, who have investigated and observed the 
African race on its own ground — all these thinkers, physi- 
ologists and pyschologists, recognize in the blacks the 
germs of all the faculties of mind and heart, only differently 
proportioned from those in the Caucasian. Some recog- 
nize in them a greater intensity of affection than in the 
white race. Not one classifies them on that account — as 
is done in pro-slavery science — as an intermediate link be- 
tween brutes and man. Even in their degradation by 
American slavery, the Negroes alone modify to a certain 
degree the gloominess of the country. The Negroes alone 
have minstrelsy and melodies of peculiar intonation and 
beauty. They alone re-echo American original songs, 
which are adopted as national by the white race.* 

* When a foreigner asks and inquires about national melodies, he 
is unanimously directed to hear the so called negro melodies. 



Further, like the white man, the African loves his 
native land, fights for its independence, resists as he can 
invasion — although fearful odds are against him. The 
African, degraded and enslaved, loves liberty, understands 
how to conquer it, as was shown at St. Domingo. The 
transition to a better social state on that island is seem- 
ingly slow. But it ought not to be forgotten from what a 
state of slavish abjection the black race there emerged ; 
that scarcely a second generation is in possession of human 
rights ; that after the conquest of independence, the eman- 
cipated have to make a thorough and most detailed ap- 
prenticeship in order to become men again ; that their con- 
tact with civilization was and is difficult, and often im- 
possible ; and finally that Europe, for centuries the hearth 
and laboratory of civilization, has still in its bosom masses 
that are nearly as ignorant and degraded as the Haytians. 
Slow and toilsome is the work of humanization. In the 
English West Indies the work of emancipation was not 
the result of violence, bloodshed and destruction, but was 
brought forth in an orderly way, by tuition. The internal 
economy of these islands became recast, large plantations 
were divided into small farms. Very naturally this trans- 
formation for a few years must have reacted on the culture 
of the soil, and lessened its production. The emancipated 
were to make the mental and material apprenticeship for 
their new condition. No apprenticeship whatever is im- 
mediately productive. But already the new generation, 
grown under liberty, compensates for the lost time and 
for the losses occasioned by the economical revulsion. 
Becent reports and statistics show that the culture and 
the productivity of the British West Indies are contin- 
ually on the increase, as is the prosperity of the newly 
formed free, and therefore laborious men. 

Carelessness, heedlessness, want of foresight, laziness, 



disposition to lie, and all tlie like vices, attributed to tlie 
black race in America, even theft, are not inherent in the 
African nature, but their germs are to be found in human- 
ity in general. Slavery, degradation, developes them; 
they are the rich manure which propitiates an exuberant 
growth; and the like vices have been and are common to 
the white slaves and serfs, and to otherwise degraded, al- 
though even free and independent, but corrupted mem- 
bers of the best cultivated society. 

The principal psychological inferiority attributed to 
the African race is based on the assertion that it never 
could elevate itself to a spiritual conception of Deity, and 
that fetichism prevails in Africa. But fetichism under 
various kinds was more or less known to other races, even 
to families of the Caucasian race. In primitive races, 
fetichism is always the forerunner of polytheism and of the 
worship of nature. And have not for centuries the most 
spiritual religious conceptions been debased and stained 
by fetichism in the midst of Europe ? 

The physiological differences, brought forward by 
pro-slavery science, as conclusive of the absolute infe- 
riority of the African race, are not sustained by truly 
scientific and disinterested men. Owen, Flourens, Pritch- 
ard. Miller, Bachmann, Humboldt, and a host of other 
genuine savants, find in the physical conformation and 
structure of the negro as well as in the laws of hybrid- 
ity, quite different phenomena, and no such cardinal con- 
trasts to the white man, as the pro-slavery physiologists 
assert. The same researches, observations and analogies 
give, therefore, different results, according as they serve 
impartial science, or become diverted for a peculiar pur- 
pose. The naturalist, St. Hilaire, maintains that the 
white man, equally with the negro, in the animal ascend- 
ing concatenation, proceeds from the ape. But even the 



sense-sharpening instruments seem to work diversely in 
Europe and in America. Thus the microscope represents 
different minutiae there and here. In the United States 
the microscope discovers that the negro is covered with 
wool, while the lens of a Haenle, the founder of micro- 
scopical anatomy, shows beyond doubt that the hair of the 
white man and that of the negro is of one and the same 
kind. The pro-slavery microscope distorts or changes the 
form of the cellular tissues of the muscles, the epidermis of 
the blacks, while the truly scientific instrument shows that 
the black and white tissues are alike. Here it is decided 
that the pigment which darkens the skin of the African is 
a speciality to him; but Simon, a celebrated microscopic 
anatomist in Europe, together with other men of science, 
demonstrates beyond doubt, that the dark circle surround- 
ing the nipple of a white woman contains precisely the 
same pigment which universally colors the skin of the 

The physical as well as psychological differences which 
exist, are not of such weight as to fatally reduce the Afri- 
can race to an irredeemable inferiority. But should even 
this be the case ; on no human, moral, or social grounds 
can it be justifiable to depress the race still more ; to de- 
base it ; to deprive it, by slavery and by unparalleled sys- 
tematic oppression, of the feebler attributes of manhood 
which it has received from nature. If even the negro 
should be unable to use his powers with the same vigor as 
the white man, he is not therefore to be transformed into 
a chattel. 

But these statements and assertions remain unsustain- 
ed by science or by history, which shows that the branches 
of the Hamitic race were the first founders of states, of 
polity, and of cities, and thus the first inventors of useful 
and mechanic arts, without which no culture of the soil, 



no construction of walls and dwellings, was possible. The 
cardinal distinction and pre-eminence of the Caucasian, 
Indo-European, or Japhetian race, consists not thus abso- 
lutely in the power of invention, or initiation. This fac- 
ulty is the lot of the Asiatics among the descendants of 
Shem and of Ham, by whom the Japhetian, the Arrian, 
was initiated into the rudiments of material and mental 
civilization. The peculiarity of the European consists 
primarily in the boundless power of expansion, in the im- 
pulse, the inclination to sow to the right and to the left, 
to scatter and implant his ideas, to extend his activity in 
all directions. Easily impressible, and urged by inward 
inapulse as well as by external events, more sensitive to 
their action than the other members of the human family, 
the European became the anima movens of the globe. 
But he disavows those of his race who on this superiority 
base the right to transform into eternal brutism their less 
fortunate, or even their apparently less endowed fellow- 

The absolute necessity in America of maintaining the 
colored population in bondage is supported by an axiom, 
very unskilfully twisted out of general history. It is as- 
serted that whenever a superior race comes in contact with 
an inferior one, the second must inevitably become enslaved 
by the former. Never was a greater fallacy brought 
forward. Its concoctors are bound above all to clearly 
establish wherein genuine superiority consists. Whether 
it is civility, advanced culture, and diversified mental and 
material development, that constitute a superiority, or only 
daring, physical force, warlike propensities, military or- 
ganization and discipline. Nearly all the conquests, and 
thus the contacts, of different races recorded in history, 
were made by nations inferior in civility, by mere barba- 
rians, over others more developed. The Medes and Per- 



sians of Cyrus were far inferior in every kind of culture 
to the Lydians, Assyrians, Egyptians, and all the other 
flourishing states of Asia Minor. These states were sub- 
dued. The prisoners of war, the populations of cities taken 
by storm, became transformed or were sold into slavery ; 
but nowhere have whole races or nations been subjected 
to domestic bondage. The Macedonians of Philip and 
Alexander were thorough barbarians, when they subdued 
Greece, and they did not enslave the G-reeks, but on the 
contrary, they were civilized, grecised, by them. Nei- 
ther were the Romans of the first centuries after the found- 
ing of the city superior in culture to the Samnites, the 
Etrurians, and the Greek population of Italy. Having 
extended their domination over the peninsula, the Romans 
did not make chattels of the Italiots by the wholesale. 
The Roman conquest in Gaul, as over the world as then 
known, was not for establishing domestic bondage over all 
the various subdued races. The number of slaves increas- 
ed principally by the warlike process above pointed out. 

AVhen the races of the North overran and destroyed 
the Roman Empire, they were barbarians. These invad- 
ers to be sure enslaved the populations on whose necks they 
established their dominion, more generally than any for- 
mer conquerors recorded in history. As a race, the Ger- 
mans issued from one and the same root as those whom 
they enslaved. They had the same origin, whether con- 
sidered as descendants of the Japhetians, of the Caucasians, 
or of the Indo-Europeans. The enslavement was the re- 
sult of events, and not of any absolute law ruling and reg- 
ulating the destinies of the human kind. And, as it has 
been pointed our in another chapter, all these northern 
conquerors in the course of time became humanized, civil- 
ized, absorbed, assimilated, recast by those ^mong whom 
they settled, and over whom they ruled. The character 



of the French, Spaniards, and Italians, has no traits in 
common with that of the Germans. The Normans con- 
quered the Anglo-Saxons, and partly enslaved them, al- 
though both Normans and Saxons descended originally 
from the Scandinavians. And the original character of 
these sea-rovers was almost completely changed by contact 
with the civility of France, and with the nations among 
whom they settled. These Normans, although considered 
by some as forming a superior race, and appeared as such 
in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, mixed, blended, and 
assimilated with peculiar facility with the populations 
among which they established themselves; and thus in 
new conditions and conjunctures soon changed their origi- 
nal character. What a difference between the English 
and French Norman ! The nobilit}^ of Sicily and Naples 
descending from Tancred, Robert Guiscard, and their 
followers, in the next generations lost nearly all traits of 
resemblance to the Normans of France, and to those of 
England under the Plantagenets. The fierce Arab-Ma- 
hometans were modified by the Syrians in Bagdad, Aleppo, 
Damascus, etc., as well as by the Moors in Africa. The 
Tartars, as conquerors, were absorbed by the Chinese; 
and, as races, both belong to the Mongolian stock. 

Few, very few, are the contrary examples, where the 
barbarian conqueror resisted the absorbing influence of the 
more civilized conquered, and preserved over him the ab- 
solute sway of physical force. And in such cases oppres- 
sion was never transformed into absolute domestic slavery. 
The Turks are the most salient illustrations of this in 
their relations with the Greeks, Slavi, Armenians, and 
other Christian populations. But will any one maintain 
that the Turkomans are a superior race to the others ? 
The religious hostility of the Moslems to Christianity 



alone placed an insurmountable barrier, and prevented 
amalgamation and relaxation of oppression. 

Should the historical evidences be all in favor of the 
pro-slavery axiom, even then they could have no bearing 
whatever on the relations of the white with the colored 
man in the United States. The European came in con- 
tact on this continent not with the African, but with the 
Indian. It is therefore the Indian who was to be enslaved, 
if that fallacious axiom has any meaning. The African 
was imported here by stealth, by robbery, by a most infa- 
mous traffic, not as a nation, but as an individual, already 
a victim of brute force. To justify and logically confirm 
their theory,, the advocates of this axiom, as well as the sup- 
porters of American slavery, ought to fit out a great ex- 
pedition and make a descent upon Africa, meet the negro 
face to face, conquer him, and establish their beloved 
slavery in his native land. 

In our epoch the conquests made by European nations 
over really or apparently inferior races or tribes, and the 
establishment of European dominion over them, is not 
followed by domestic slavery, or even by any kind of serf- 
dom or villanage. E ranee does not enslave the Arabs 
and Bedouins, but raises them to civilized life, confers 
upon them equal civil rights with Frenchmen. England, 
notwithstanding the bloody fiscal pressure upon the Hin- 
doos, does not deprive them of civil rights nor of culture, 
but propagates amongst them civilization, erects schools, 
and treats them as human beings. England does not enslave 
the Australians or the Papuans, nor deprive them of hu- 
man and civil rights. Kussia, although serfdom prevails 
in her bosom, does not extend it over the conquered tribes, 
whether settled or nomadic, pastoral or roving. And thus, 
by an extraordinary anomaly, those weaker, inferior popu- 



lations enjoy more human rights than even the immense 
majority of the domineering race. 

In this sacrilegious way the annals of our race are 
ransacked to bear evidence of the necessity or of the bless- 
edness of slavery, although they teach on every page that 
the ancient slavery was different in origin and in principle 
from the American bondage. It was not based on any 
physical or psychological inferiority or difference in one 
race that was doomed to serve another, but it resulted 
from one paramount fact, war and conquest. The Spar- 
tans, those fierce oligarchs of the Grecian world, who cul- 
tivated no arts whatever, conquered the Helots, the de- 
scendants of the Pelasgi, the first civilizers of Southern 
Europe, and not at all an inferior race to the Dorians. 
They brutalized their victims deliberately and purposely 
by every vice and crime, and above all by fostering intem- 
perance among the Helots, to keep them enslaved more 
easily. In great dangers the Spartans bestowed on the 
Helots the right of citizenship. Often cognate and mostly 
kindred races, tribes of the same family and language, 
enslaved each other. The slaves mentioned in the Scrip- 
tures and possessed by the Jews, were of the same Semitic 
race as the Hebrews. So were mostly all the slaves of the 
ancient nations, often their previous neighbors. So Greeks 
possessed Greeks as slaves. Plato was once sold into 
slavery. Philip of Macedon destroyed thirty-two Chalkidic 
cities, and sold their inhabitants into slavery. Alexander, 
after destroying Thebes, sold all the population into 
slavery, and the purchasers were mostly other Beotians. 
kindred of the Thebans. So Pvomans made slaves when at 
war with other kindred Italiot populations. At one time 
Koman citizens could be sold into slavery by their credi- 
tors. And yet slavery among the Komans and its influence 



on the fate of the Koman republic, form the principal 
pivots on which American slavery is theoretically propped. 

The power of the Roman master was absolute, was that 
of life and death. It was pitilessly and cruelly exercised. 
But absolute and tyrannical was the power of the Koman 
father over his wife and over his children. The Roman 
moral tone in all conditions and relations, was in general 
stern and cruel. The Romans did not consider slavery as 
a social corner-stone, without which liberty could not 
exist. The Roman legist who resumed in short sentences 
the antique sense of morality and justice, calls slavery em- 
phatically a state contrary to nature — -contra naturam^ as 
did before him Aristotle, Plato, and others. How different 
from our southern Papinians and Tribonians ! The ser- 
vile origin of the manumitted disappeared at the farthest 
in the third generation. But in the South the stain is 
eternal. The material interests of a slave, his earnings or 
pecuUum, were under the protection of the Roman prae- 
tor. Adrian, the Antonines legislated for the protection 
of the slaves. The Roman law punished with death any 
one who unlawfully enslaved a freeman. Slaves in anti- 
quity were not grown, bred specially for the market, as 
is the case in Virginia ; the masculine by far outnumbering 
the feminine slaves. The children of slaves were in- 
structed in schools, in arts and sciences. Slaves have 
been architects, physicians, authors, actors. Nearly all 
the monuments which have survived the destructive force 
of time, had slaves for architects, for constructors. Ac- 
cording to some historians, Yitruvius, whose architectural 
writings are still authority, was a slave. Many Greek 
rhetoricians, grammarians, philosophers, were Roman 
slaves. The purest moralist of antiquity, Epictetus, lived 
many years the slave of a bad Roman master. And shall 
any body assert that the Greeks were an inferior race ? 



History teaches that in proportion as slavery increased, 
the spirit of ancient Rome became faint. With the ex- 
tension of slavery, the free yeomanry was either destroyed 
or reduced to a degraded social state, like that of the 
southern free-white laborers and small cultivators. Not 
slaves but Cincinnatus himself ploughed his farm, when the 
deputies brought him the news of his election by his fellow- 
citizens to the dignity of a dictator. When in the course 
of time the soil of Rome was owned by wealthy patricians, 
and worked all over with slaves, Rome had no more the 
Fabii, the Horatii Codes, the Scaevol^e. Roman virtue 
vanished before slavery, and Roman demoralization went 
hand in hand with its increase. In the first centuries of 
the republic — the blossoming period of Roman virtue — 
slaves were made in war alone ; and if the prisoners were 
not ransomed, then hereditary birth in bondage constituted 
the status of a slave. In the age of the degeneration of 
the republic — in those of the dissolution of the spirit and 
laxity of the laws, the husbandry of estates by slave 
labor was carried out by systematic hunting for men. 
What for America was Africa, for Rome at that time was 
Asia Minor. Pirates or slave-traders, principally from the 
island of Crete and from Cilicia, stole men in the Greek 
Archipelago and around the eastern and southern shores of 
the Mediterranean. It is said that at the great slave-mart, 
of Delos (the American New-Orleans), on one day ten 
thousand slaves were bought and sold. 

In the pagan world, divines, moralists, philosophers and 
statesmen did not exalt slavery. No one represented it as 
an idyllic state of society, or sang its praise and blessed- 
ness. Orations and speeches were not made to the Roman 
or Greek people to exalt bondage. Pliny, Seneca, Plu- 
tarch spoke of it in mild and extenuating language. 

The Roman world fell. The destruction was not oc- 



casioned by the relaxation of slavery — a favorite assertion 
of the American pro-slavery philosophers. On the con- 
trary, the extension of slavery was an efficient and primary 
cause, among many secondary causes, of the downfall of 
Rome. Slavery deprived Italy of vigorous, devoted, intelli- 
gent, energetic and active citizens. Large estates worked by 
slaves, deteriorating the soil and its culture, reduced the 
population. Poverty, misery was at the basis, and above 
it hovered the wealthy, effeminate, debased, immoral and 
luxurious slaveholder. The amor patrice had been long 
consumed to cold ashes. The most unbounded and sordid 
egotism filled the mind and the heart of the people. 

The Koman world fell because a new light rose upon 
mankind, a light which the ancient pagan religious and 
social institutions could not stand. Because the material- 
ized conception of Grod and man was to give way before a 
higher, spiritual one.' The time of the pagan civilization, 
with all its religious and social ideas, was accomplished. 
The human race received a new password ; it was to be 
impregnated with a purer and subtler essence. A new and 
loftier order was to prevail. Higher aspirations were to 
inspire man, and the past was to be blotted out or changed. 
The past was doomed to destruction. The idolatrous 
worship of the living Caesar could not exist by the side of 
the worship of the crucified Christ. Kome fell because 
the civis Homanus, the highest human dignity at that 
time, was superseded by the higher one of civis Chris- 
tianus, which signified brotherhood, love and self-denial. 
The E-oman world fell, because mankind was to be ini- 
tiated into union, and could not move further, as it was 
forcibly encompassed in material unity. The individualism 
of the ancient world was to make place for humanity. 

Slavery survived the Roman world, maintains south- 
ern philosophical science, and European Christian nations 



"based tlieir existence upon it. The most superficial in- 
sight into history shows that feudal slavery was in no way 
considered as a social constructive element. 

The inhabitants of the Roman Empire, slaves or free, 
became enslaved by the new conquerors. The conquered 
remained attached to the soil, which they cultivated for 
themselves and for their masters. Yillanage went hand 
in hand with bondage. They could not be detached from 
the earth. They also preserved the right of family, and 
families were not separated. At the commencement of 
the mediaeval epoch, therefore, slavery did not possess 
this fierce feature which it has in America. The con- 
quered were not sold in markets, neither could the master 
carry his slaves into any other region or land, as is done 
by the American planter in his migrations in search of a 
better and virgin soil. 

The slave-trade and slave-markets existed at that 
epoch in various spots of Europe, — in France, above all in 
Lyons ; in various cities of Italy, especially in Venice and 
Kome ; and in some cities on the Baltic. But the market- 
able slaves were exclusively prisoners of war, or persons 
carried away by depredatory invasions of the Normans, 
Berbers and others. In the South and the West of 
Europe the slave-trade was principally supplied by prison- 
ers taken from the Moors in Spain and other Mahomedans 
of the Mediterranean shores, and in the East and North, 
by those made by the Germans among various Sclavic 
tribes living between the Baltic and the Adriatic Seas. In 
the thirteenth century this traffic in slaves wholly disap- 
peared from Europe. Since that epoch serfdom, villanage 
likewise, became successively softened. In royal domains 
the serfs were put under the jurisdiction of common tri- 
bunals. In general the serfs could acquire property, liti- 
gate, appear as witnesses in civil and criminal cases, even 


against their own masters. Thus Western Europe suc- 
cessively relieved itself from this curse, and history teaches 
that, in proportion as serfdom, villanage, was modified 
and destroyed, European nations emerged out of darkness ; 
culture, arts, industry, commerce, prosperity, extended in 
wider and wider circles. Not in slavery was concentrated 
the patriotism, the honor of the chivalry, of the feudal 
knights. In the epochs of the most direful feudal op- 
pression, the master hunting an escaped serf was scorned 
and nicknamed a man-hunier. The fugitive serf, if he 
was not caught in the lapse of a year and one day, acquired 
his liberty. In Italy, and above all in Germany, the free 
cities scattered over the land served as a secure refuge for 
the fugitives. For these cities, as well as for a nobleman, 
to deliver up one of these fugitives was an infamy. 
Knights combated rather than commit such a felonious 
action. Many were the bloody feuds between cities and 
barons that were occasioned by the refusal of delivery. 
Nay, if a fugitive, once admitted into the refuge of a city, 
was caught in some way by his previous master, the city 
considered it as a violation of her rights and made it 
an occasion for war. The free city likewise considered it 
as a violation of her territory and of her rights, and 
avenged it, if a fugitive serf was in any way molested 
within her limits. Woe to a nobleman who fell into the 
hands of the offended burghers. In the city of Keval, in 
Estonia, a city once belonging to the Hanseatic associa- 
tion, there is still preserved the sword with which one of 
the mightiest barons of the province was beheaded, for hav- 
ing carried away his fugitive serf from under the walls of 

The misery, the degradation and the ignorance of the 
European proletariat is held up in comparison by the de- 
fenders and upholders of slavery, with what they call the 



happy and prosperous condition of the slaves. True it is 
that the masses of the daily laborers in Europe drag out an 
existence full of desolation. True it is that pauperism 
gnaws at the core of European society. The original source 
of this evil was social. It dates from the times when 
slavery, serfdom, villanage, oppressed the masses. Nowa- 
days, however, the cause is purely economical. It results 
from the distorted organization and combination of labor 
and capital. It results from the disproportion in remu- 
neration and in the share of profits, due to the original and 
immediate creator of wealth ; it results from a faulty and 
imperfect co-ordination of man, and of his intrinsic powers, 
faculties and propensities. True it is likewise, that this 
deeply rooted disorder is powerfully alimented by the di- 
vision of society for ages into castes and classes, in virtue 
of which there are accumulated in the upper social strata 
various dead-weights and drones, turning the scales on one 
side, absorbing the results of the labor of the mass of the 
people, and rendering difficult its free ascension and nor- 
mal expansion. But the proletariat is not a distinct race, 
decreed by those above it to an eternal degradation and 
servitude in idea and in fact, or retained therein by laws 
as well as by brutal force. A noble or any other once 
prosperous person, when impoverished and destitute, merges 
in the proletariat ; he wades into the mire of pauperism. 
The proletariat reposes not on the principle that it is an 
indelible stain, an unchangeable condition excluding social 
and civil rights. In all the European nations, however 
slowly, there continually emerge from the proletariat, 
from among the poor, individuals who ascend, acquire com- 
parative wealth, position, and all the advantages of the 
world are thrown open to them. The proletariat, the 
poor, their progeny, arc not surrounded, like the man of 
color — slave or free — by an insurmountable barrier sepa- 



rating them from civilization. The so-called middle 
classes, the wealthy, the aristocracy, was and is recruited 
from that mass. English aristocracy is in the major part 
composed of what once was an impure, a villain blood. 
The poor of Europe are not deprived by laws and observ- 
ances- of the right of religious worship and association, nor 
of marital rights, nor of family protection and ties, all of 
which the master of slaves severs according to his own 
will and pleasure. The civil rights of the proletaries, of 
the poor, are absolutely equal to those of any other member 
of society. The slave has none, and the free- colored man 
scarcely the shadow of any in any State, Louisiana alone 
excepted — and there only as the remains of ancient French 
and Spanish supremacy. In Europe political rights de- 
pend upon material property ; and if the poor can acquire 
it, he enjoys political rights in all their plenitude. In the 
European nations there are different codes for the different 
social compounds. The life, the domestic occupations, the 
domestic hearth, the time, the labor of the proletariat, are 
not at the discretion and will of masters and owners. The 
proletariat, the poor, are adequately protected by the 
same laws with all other members of the community or of 
the State. The poor man has the right of litigation 
against every body. The criminal code is the same for 
the man of the so-called superior class, as for the proleta- 
ry, the poor. In Russia, where nobles have real privi- 
leges, where serfdom exists, the criminal code is even more 
severe towards a noble, on account of his social superi- 
ority, immunities, and advantages. In the slave States, 
justice, crime, and its penalties, vary in their tenor, defi- 
nition, application, according to their bearing on the slave, 
the man of color, the white man, or the master. What 
the moral sense, as well as the laws, of every civilized and 
humane society condemn and stamp as a crime, as " maim- 



ing," " killing in undue heat," or " undue correction," in 
tlie criminal legislation of the South is scarcely considered 
as an offence. Laws and regulations exclude not the poor, 
the proletariat, from " mental instruction," as is done by 
the laws of the slave States. No government or law of 
any European country imprisons and fines a teacher for 
teaching the children of the poor ; while the laws of the 
Carolinas, of Georgia, of Virginia, and of all the other 
Slave States, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware excepted, 
prohibit under heavy penalties the teaching of the colored 
race, enslaved or free. 

Neither the sovereigns nor the aristocracies of Europe 
consider the preservation of misery, ignorance and degra- 
dation among the masses as a social necessity. The unin- 
terrupted tendency and efforts of European rulers, of the 
European superior classes, of legislation and administra- 
tion, tend towards assuaging the evils of pauperism, to les- 
sen it, to educate the poor, to open to them issues, to sof- 
ten the misery, to alleviate the social burden pressing on 
their necks. Governments establish schools, and desire 
to instruct and enlighten. European rulers and the so- 
cially privileged of every class, do not prize the blessings 
of pauperism, but redden in shame or shudder at it. The 
legislation of the slave States increases from year to year 
in stringency, ferocity, and contempt for the claims of hu- 
manity. They aim uninterruptedly at making darkness 
darker, the yoke heavier, the chains tighter, the oppression 
more shocking, bondage and chattelhood more inhuman 
and indestructible. The aim of their legislatures is to 
destroy all the germs of human feeling and capacity in 
the slaves. For this the equitable foundation of human 
relations is legally, authoritatively subverted. Severance 
of families, disruption of ties, laceration of affections, 



which are common even to animals, are sanctioned by 
their legislation. 

To compensate for all these curses, it is asserted that 
the slaves are better fed and clothed than the proletaries, 
the daily laborers, living in freedom ; that their physical 
wants and necessities are cared for ; that diseases and 
hunger are averted or healed by the attention of their mas- 

It is probable and even well-nigh certain, that planta- 
tions can be found scattered over the region of slavery, in 
which the chattels are treated more carefully, in which some 
allowance is made for their human origin. Undoubtedly, 
likewise, the majority of masters try to avoid tyranny and 
harshness as far as possible, or as far as their own interest 
requires it. But the majority of slave owners cannot 
spend their material resources in procuring to the slaves 
— even on a small scale, comparatively — a real, material 
prosperity. According to the avowal of the slave owners, 
slave labor in itself is expensive, and in the smaller es- 
tates, by far more numerous than the larger ones, scarcely 
covers the cost. The owner has barely enough to sat- 
isfy decently his own wants and those of his family, and 
no one will refuse any thing to himself and to his children, 
for the sake of his chattels. Those are kept just above 
starvation ; the physical forces are alimented enough to en- 
able them to fulfil their daily tasks. The desolated huts 
— those abodes of slaves, according to impartial witnesses, 
in an immense majority over the South, do not give an 
idea of sheltered, prosperous, and well-kept inmates. For 
one working chattel, well-fed and tolerably dressed, there 
are necessarily hundreds and hundreds covered with rags, 
fed on the scantiest and coarsest allowance. Like causes 
every where produce like effects. In certain general out- 
lines human nature is the same all over the world ; as an 



ancient adage says : natura Jiumana semper sibi consona ; 
and slavery or serfdom in husbandry, in economy, in house- 
hold administration, works now in the same way, shows the 
same phenomena that marked it among the Komans, that 
marked it over Europe, that marks it still, however mitiga- 
ted it may be, in those European countries where serfdom 
prevails, or where, although serfdom being abolished in 
principle, custom, habits, tradition, idleness and degrada- 
tion surround the large land owner, the once master, the 
nobleman with numerous burdensome retainers, if not 
chattels. Such was the case for a long time among the 
Irish and Scotch clans ; so it is in Sicily, in the kingdom 
of Naples, in Hungary, in the Slavonias, in the Danubian 
Principalities, in numerous households of Poland and of 
Eussia. Every where and always such retainers are often 
worse treated than favorite animals, as horses and dogs. 

But admitting that the physical condition of the en- 
slaved population in America is really as prosperous as it 
is represented, that all slaves or the majority of them are 
fat, well-nourished and decently clad ; this after all would 
be nothing more than what is done by ever}? sensible hus- 
bandman for his cattle and domestic animals, which must 
be nourished and well-cared for, on account of the labor 
which they perform. Every good husbandman attends to 
and cures his crippled or diseased oxen or horses, and so 
does the owner of the slave, who after all is the most ex- 
pensive domestic animal, and one that is renewed or pro- 
cured with the greatest difficulty. The apologists of 
slavery, reducing this question to that of food, of physical 
maintenance, as forming a compensation for all the de- 
struction of manliness in their victims, prove how under 
the influence of slavery the comprehension, the feeling of 
manhood is lowered in the master himself. 

Finally the question between a well-fed slave and a 



lean freeman was settled about eighteen centuries ago, by 
the celebrated Roman fabulist Phgedrus, in tlie fable Lu- 
pus and Canis, beginning Tvith the words — Quam dulcis 
sit lihertas hreviter proloquar ; to which I refer the par- 
tisans of slavery. 

Neither is it true that the enslaved populations are 
satisfied, and cheerfully support their bondage. Even • 
if it were so, it would justify once more an ancient ax- 
iom, and one confirmed by all ancient and modern observ- 
ers of human nature, that oppression, slavery, destroys 
manhood to that extent, which makes the slave insensible 
to the highest good, to freedom. Thus we often meet 
with hardened cruninals, to whom virtue, honesty, honor, 
become totally incomprehensible. So a distorted organ- 
ism often rejects the efi"orts to bring it back to a normal 
condition. How often an individual affected with an in- 
ternal chronic disease, or with some external excrescence, 
dreads the cure, refuses to submit to it, and prefers in- 
firmity to health and vigor. 

But innumerable and various facts give the lie to the 
assertion that the American slave loves slavery. He sub- 
mits to it, as says Alfieri of all oppressed : — 

servi siam' si»; 

Ma servi ognor frementi. 

If the chattels are thus satisfied with their condition, 
what necessity evokes the almost daily framing of violent, 
ferocious laws, to defend, preserve and strengthen bon- 
dage, to make the chain more indestructible ? If the chat- 
tels are so fond of bondage, whence comes the dread of 
the masters to see them run away ? What urgent neces- 
sity was there for the atrocious fugitive slave law t How 
is it that the Southern papers from all the States contain 
repeated advertisements of runaway slaves, with rewards 



for their delivery, alive or dead ? Why is it that others 
of these papers, from time to time announce that pos- 
sessors of bloodhounds are ready to hire them out, and 
' hunt the fugitives for twenty -five dollars the job ? Strange 
evidences of the felicity and satisfaction of the oppressed. 
What need of the cudgel, the whip, the gag, the thumb- 
screw, the bell, and various other implements of refined 
torture, which stock the household armories of the plan- 
tations ? Must the devotion of the chattels be shored up 
with terror ? All this so much trumpeted kindness of the 
masters notwithstanding, thousands and thousands of 
these human chattels often envy the treatment, the nour- 
ishment of the favorite dogs of their owners ! And those 
murdered in their attempts to recover liberty, the mothers 
destroying their ofispring, rather than to see them slaves, 
redeem the atrocious aspersion on the colored population, 
as if it were blunted to the sense of liberty. Vainly is it 
maintained that such cases of utter despair are few and 
isolated. Few and isolated are the self-devoted martyrs 
of any oppressed people, but the blood and deeds of the 
martyrs bear evidence against the tyrants. 

Slavery as practised in the States of the Union, civil- 
izes, ennobles the colored race, raises it above its kindred 
in Africa. These nefarious assertions are uttered as the 
crowning justification. The coarse varnish of tameness 
with which slavery glosses over its victims is not culture ; 
servility is not civilization. This varnish, corrosive in its 
action, eats up, destroys in the slave the dignity of man- 
hood, which makes the savage superior to the enslaved. 
Civilization is then only genuine and beneficial when she 
preserves, nourishes, developes, purifies and raises higher 
and higher the manly germs implanted by nature in the 
breast, in the mind of man. Such civilization alone en- 
nobles, but such is not the lot of the slave. Such is not 



within the range of slavery. The taming of the black or 
the mulatto to serve the wants, to fulfil the biddings and 
the whims of the white man, is a desecration of the essence^ 
of the principle, of the name of civilization. 

The colored race is not alone degraded by slavery. 
Fate in its equitable retaliation blights the white man with 
the deleterious exhalations. Nearly three-fourths of the 
white population in the Slave States do not own any prop- 
erty in man. The condition of the immense majority 
thereof, according to the accounts published by the de- 
fenders of slavery, is most deplorable. This population 
is subject to material, intellectual and moral privations, is 
reduced to the most miserable degradation. And this 
state, according to the same source of information, is yearly 
growing worse. The younger portion is less educated, less 
industrious, more wretched, physically and morally, and 
the evil increases uninterruptedly. The habits of appli- 
cation to close labor is lost among them, and they " while 
away existence in a state but one step in advance of the 
Indian of the forest." They grow up without mental and 
moral instruction, as without any apprenticeship in me- 
chanic and operative skill. Slavery shuts against them 
all issues. Slaveholders possess the best lands, and slavery 
is not creative or propitious to the arts, industry or me- 
chanical skill. The whites find no demand, no employment 
for their labor, nothing spurs them to order, to regulated 
activity, to progress, and the development of their faculties. 
The South does not possess towns, villages, and townships 
like those which compose the Free States, and above all 
New England, the first among the civilized countries of 
the Christian world. The germs of liberty, of culture, of 
progress, of comprehension and firm adhesion to human 
rights, of their regulated reasonable exercises, are nursed 
and brought forth in these villages. On them prominently 



reposes the prosperity, the freedom, the future of Ameri- 
can destinies. These villages are so many foci of light 
and morality, of intelligent, orderly activity. Out of these 
villages and townships, pours forth uninterruptedly the 
radiant- stream of life, whose innumerable rivulets carry 
and spread civilization over America, whose halo corus- 
cates brilliantly in the history of our race. 

All is darkness and desolation in the Slavery States. 
The reports and messages of their Grovernors resound with 
complaints of poverty, exhaustion, record the decreasing 
productivity of the land, the increasing ignorance among 
the mass of the white population. According to those of- 
ficial reports and messages, there are scores and scores of 
thousands who can neither read nor write in each State. 
Schools are rare and are maintained with difficulty. 
Townships often belong to some few of the wealthier plant- 
ers, who have no interest in taxing themselves for a com- 
munal free public school, for the general good. Those 
planters educate their children under the care of private 
tutors, in private boarding schools, in colleges, or send 
them to the North. Teachers of both sexes are im- 
ported from New England, as such intellectual produce 
does not germinate and blossom in the slaveholding 

Moreover, it is an inborn instinct of oligarchies, to 
hate light and civilization, to prevent them in any manner 
whatever from penetrating to the masses. The Southern 
oligarchies abhor culture of mind in the white population, 
no less than in their chattels. They scorn the intelligent 
operatives, mechanics, artisans, of the North. The enlight- 
ened white masses would cease to be the tools of the slave- 
owners, and slavery would be undermined, and then ex- 
plode. It would take volumes to collect the contemptuous 
utterances of Southern so-called statesmen, orators, thee- 



rists, stigmatizing enlightened industry and its progress, uni- 
ted with the intellectual progress of working populations. 
Never did the most feudal, aristocratic, and benighted 
times in Europe witness such a hatred towards indepen- 
dent, industrial populations and communities, as is mani- 
fested by the Southern slave-masters. Not from these 
rulers of the destinies of the South, nor its laboring classes 
—of whatever color— is to be expected the fostering of 
culture, or any step for mental amelioration, and the ma- 
terial improvement so closely connected with it. Not in 
this way act the Governments, the superior classes in Eu- 
rope. And in face of this thorough degradation of the 
white population of their own kindred, of the descendants 
of those who fought the battles of independence, the up- 
holders of slavery dare to upbraid the civilization of those 
whom they call the " greasy mechanics " of the North, 
scrutinize the condition of the proletariat in Europe, and 
represent slavery as the only guarantee of prosperity to 
the masses. 

Freedom, under whatever shape it manifests itself, is 
and always was repulsive to oligarchies. The Southern 
oligarchy hates its name and its substance, abhorring free 
labor, free schools, and men of every color who are ele- 
vated by them. 

History fully proves that oligarchies are more fatal to 
society than even the most unlimited power of one man. 
Still more so must be an oligarchy founded exclusively on 
the most atrocious social abuse. Oligarchies based on a 
certain traditional right, on the possession and exercise of 
power, have had in their behalf the same traditional feel- 
ing in the masses, accustomed to be ruled for generations, 
accustomed to consider their rulers as exercising a legiti- 
mate power over them. But the slavery oligarchy is in 
principle and political relations not superior to the rest of 



the wliite population. It is only by using its wealtli and 
influence for systematically debasing the whites, and re- 
taining them in poverty and degradation, that the slave- 
holder can maintain over them his baneful preponderance. 

Facts and not fiction prove how slavery denaturalizes, 
distorts the great principle laid down broadly and exclu- 
sively at the foundation of American society. Facts and 
not fiction evidence how directly it is opposed to the ten- 
dencies of the free civilized part of the American Union, 
as well as to those of Europe. The efforts of reason, of 
culture, of social morality, aro directed towards generaliz- 
ing, among the masses, self-respect^ good breeding, honor- 
able pride of labor, generous, elevated feelings, polish of 
manners ; in one word, towards elevating the social level, 
the social tone ; and thus towards diminishing even to its 
total disappearance the aristocratic, social and political 
distinctions. Slavery constrains itself to build up what is 
distanced, abandoned by the spirit of our age. But her 
productions are shams ; her aristocracy is a counterfeit ; 
her social polish only a coarse gloss. 

Slavery is a curse more fatal to the master than to the 
victim. It deteriorates the mind, hardens the heart, and 
makes the slave-breeder perpetually false to the better im- 
pulses of human nature. A slave-owner is a good master, 
kind-hearted, patient, full of forbearance and care as long 
as the slave is abject, fawning, crawling, and submissive, — 
as long as he licks his chains, and the hand which forges 
them. But the slightest breath of manhood raises the an- 
ger of that kind master, in whose opinion the slave de- 
serves condescension, good treatment, as long only as he 
acquiesces in being a brute, but becomes highly condem- 
nable and is to be ferociously repressed as soon as he feels 
himself to be a man. 

To the planter as a child, and afterwards as a grown up 



man, in his daily domestic life, is wanting in his relation 
with the slave that which exclusively curbs and regulates 
the exuberance and the original force of human passions. It 
is the early, calm, omnipotent influence of a genuine moral 
culture, softening the savage impulses of our nature. He 
grows up upon the plantation surrounded by beings whom 
he is accustomed to consider below him morally and mental- 
ly, as forming a medium between man and brute, existing 
there to obey his bidding, to satisfy his will and pleasure. 
As a child, as a boy, he sees and hears instances of sever- 
ity, nay of cruelty, modified mostly by the material inter- 
est for not weakening and disabling a necessary and costly 
tool. So he reaches the age of manhood, and the soften- 
ing influences of reason, of the world without, begin to 
work on his mind, only when the first impressions are 
already deeply stamped, when they have penetrated his 
whole frame, and then may arise within his bosom a strug- 
gle between his better nature, and this falsehood of his 
condition in his domestic relations— at war with his posi- 
tion, his relations with the world without. In such mo- 
ments sincere men among the slaveholders have condemned 
and deprecated slavery. But misunderstood self-interest, 
prejudices, false pride, generally maintain the upper hand. 
Men enjoying immunities must necessarily have prejudices, 
and prejudices pervert and overpower the mind. The 
slaveholder carries them within him, they bear heavily on 
all the relations of life, of a man, a citizen, a republican, a 
politician, a divine, a lover of study and science, or whatever 
other pursuits in life he may choose. And so slavery, 
originating on the American soil by an accident, in a mer- 
cantile speculation, about half a century ago, considered 
as an evil by the most patriotic men of the South, is up- 
held now as an offensive weapon against the moral sense of 
our age, against the general outcry of civilization. It is 



no longer an economical availability, and still less a social 
evil, but a high moral obligation, a social law, a nursery of 
freedom, an agency of culture. Few minds or hearts can 
resist such an unnatural tension. They lose elasticity, 
become incapable of any loftier impulse, whatever might 
be the otherwise generous propensities of those laboring 
under this mental disorder. 

Beyond the regions blighted with slavery, the slave- 
holder comes in contact with a different social state, with 
other notions and convictions, with men more or less 
strongly condemning what he is bound to uphold. This 
necessity makes him uneasy. He feels that he carries a 
burden of moral and social condemnation ; the best among 
them are always on the defensive, or in a state of a bane- 
ful, unwholsome mental irritation. Some of them speak 
then of slavery as of an evil inherited, which they are un- 
able to avert, to change, or to modify. If such are their 
true convictions, then how can they harmonize with the dig- 
nity of manhood the upholding by their political vote, or 
even by silent acquiescence, those who proclaim slavery a 
good, a blessing, and who drag the legislative action of the 
States to strengthen and make the evil irremediable, or 
who direct intensely the efforts of the States, of the South- 
ern populations, towards extending it over lands hitherto 
not blighted with the curse ? If conscience speaks loudly 
in them, and they stifle it off through false shame, interest, 
or the spirit of party, then they willingly degrade them- 
selves. Or if their manifestations of regret are insincere, 
if they are made only for the sake of appearances, to avert 
from themselves the disgust of others, to be taken for en- 
lightened or humane, then they have no claim on respect 
and consideration. Either way, therefore, the best of them 
are forcibly dragged by slavery into hypocrisy, into a strug- 
gle with the better longings of human reason and nature. 


Others again bear up against the accusations of the out- 
ward civilized world, and in their false pride harden 
their hearts, poison and corrupt their reason, their judg- 

For these and similar causes, slaveholders are inimical 
to the ideas of the age, are inimical to the loftier activity 
of civilization. They in general deny its usefulness, its 
necessity, and above all dread its general diffusion, not 
only in their own land, but even in other regions of the 
world,— -prosperity, progress, onward march, diffusion of 
knowledge being their loudest condemnation. 

Scattered among the mass of slaveholders there are 
men and women of culture and refinement, whose social 
qualities raise them to a level with the best of any society, 
whose feelings of morality and genuine honor elevate them 
above the muddy current into which fate has thrown their 
existence. Such persons inspire a deep sorrow, to see their 
noble faculties and impulses depressed or blighted by the 
emanations of a social and political state which sooner or 
later must unavoidably tarnish them. Such do not give 
the tone, either in social or political relations, to the im* 
mense majority of their fellow- citizens. Their influence 
or action does not come to daylight, nor manifest itself 
in legislative enactments, or other public utterances. They 
are subdued or overawed — and some of them end by howl- 
ing with the wolves. 

At the family hearth, slavery loosens and desecrates 
the family ties, the relations by blood ; lust and lewdness 
display themselves unbridled. In those unchecked rela- 
tions, matrimonial fidelity wholly disappears. The great 
numbers of mulattoes are living evidences thereof. Among 
the ancients, concubinage was not condemned either by 
religion, ethics, customs, manners or laws, as it is in Chris- 
tian society. Then the traffic in slaves was not a business 


organized in the manner in which it exists now in the 
Southern States. By this organization the produce of 
blood is here brought into the market. [Fathers thus sell 
their children ; or at the best, brothers, sisters, sell the 
offspring of their common parent, and thus the trafficking 
extends among the nearest connections by blood. 

The external manifestations of the influence of slavery 
on the slaveholders must be judged by the tone, the cus= 
toms, actions, and the degree of mental culture, of the 
great mass. 

Where public education is generally neglected, the 
members of a community possessing limited means, soon 
sink into a state of mental torpor. The small planter is 
secluded from the world, from social and civil softening 
influences. A domestic despotism, recklessness and self' 
will, become for him the attributes of self-government. 
The means of sustaining the feeble sparks of culture — if 
he has received any— are beyond his reach, and thus aban- 
doned, he necessarily becomes imbruted. His habits and 
manners become fierce, brute force is substituted for law. 
Accustomed to subdue by violence every opposition of his 
chattels to his will, he carries into civility, into contact 
with society, the same indomitable and injurious vehe- 
mence. Thus are bred the perpetrators of those bloody 
assaults, of lynching and burning, deeds of which accounts 
are to be found continually in the Southern press. These 
men use bloodhounds. Honor in their comprehension 
becomes brutality, assassination and murder the manifes- 
tation of courage. Each of them carries the decision of 
law, the sword of justice, in his own hands, and deals blows 
at pleasure. In their brutality, their prejudice, their 
pride, they treat the laws with contempt, and thus justify 
the complaints of those more humanized among the South- 
ern inhabitants, about the degradation of the public sense 



of morality, rendering impossible by juries and judges the 
conviction of criminals. 

This great slaveholding mass produces and elects those 
legislators, for their States or for Congress, whose enact- 
ments — by their worship of ignorance and of darkness, 
and by their ferocity — outrage the comprehension, dese- 
crate the name of law. These enactments, making bondage 
daily and daily more stringent and pitiless, or attempting 
its extension, are the best evidences of the moral ruin into 
which slavery drags its white victims. Before the tribu- 
nal of morality, of reason, of justice, and of history, the 
one who enacts such laws is lower in the scale of human 
beings than those against whom such laws are directed. 
Humanity must condemn any society which can only be 
maintained by increasing legislative, and therefore cool- 
blooded violence. 

Where the immense majority of the population is en- 
slaved, the one portion by law, the other by ignorance, 
where labor and industry are regarded with contempt, 
there agriculture principally absorbs the productive activ- 
ity. The South, by the nature of its products, considers 
itself as a region exclusively predestined for agriculture. 
But slavery prevents the agricultural interest from keep- 
ing pace with the material improvements in that branch 
of industry. Generally, the ancient routine is preserved, 
the immense majority of plantations squander labor and 
time in using the worthless, old-fashioned implements of 
husbandry. Thus slavery is compelled to reject inventions 
which would make agriculture profitable. The lands in 
old and new States become quickly unproductive, exhaust- 
ed by coarse, irrational husbandry. This is the general 
lamentation echoed in official and non-official documents. 
But nevertheless the planters, and the merchants who grow 
fat on the former, proclaim that the South ought only to 



base its prosperity on the exports of its crude products, that 
free trade is the only natural, economical policy of that 
region. The Southern planter forgets, or rather does not 
comprehend, that all the industries are blended, and pro- 
gress hand in hand, that to exclude one blights most as- 
suredly the other. The most industrious countries and 
regions of Europe, England, Belgium, parts of G-ermany, 
Normandy, Flanders, are likewise foremost among all 
others in agriculture. Free trade is the death of prosper- 
ity and progress. The human mind and intellect as well 
as the human body prospers in variety, in the manifold ap- 
plication of its faculties. Neither man nor nature is 
ruled by oneness and onesightedness. Matter adapts 
itself to multifarious productions and uses, when plied and 
directed by the intellect and the hand of man. Harmony 
of mental and material life in individuals, communities 
and nations, consists in the development of varieties, in 
the combination of various chords and tunes. A man whose 
mind is concentrated in one idea — whatever be its intrin- 
sic value — destroys within himself the fulness of his na- 
ture. An operative using principally one of his limbs 
distorts it, and the harmony of his frame is destroyed. 
A country devoted to a single labor, working out a single 
branch of production, becomes impoverished mentally and 
physically. Its inhabitants sink in every respect, and be- 
come inferior to those- who multiply and diffuse their men- 
tal and intellectual occupations, who vary to infinity their 
pursuits in life. The exclusively agricultural countries 
have been always inferior, and their inferiority is not 
limited to the laborers only — either free, serfs, or slaves, 
— but stamps the immense majority of the ruling class, 
be it noblemen or planters. 

Serfdom, contempt for free labor and civilization, arro- 
gant presumption and free trade, exclusively and absolutely 



caused the destruction of Poland. The Polish serfs, as 
well as those of Germany, Russia, and of some other parts 
of Eastern Europe, were of the same race, of the same 
blood as their masters or the nobility. There exists, how- 
ever, the most perfect analogy between the social state, 
the political action and the reasonings of the slave-breed- 
ers, and that of the ancient Polish nobility. Poland was 
for several centuries nearly the only granary of Europe, 
above all of the northern part, as the cotton planter en- 
joys at present the monopoly of cotton. The Polish no- 
bility imported most of the manufactured necessaries of 
life from abroad, instead of fostering industrial develop- 
ment at home. For centuries free trade flourished in the 
fullest blaze, and with it increased domestic misery, abjec- 
tion and ignorance. Free trade impeded and prevented 
the sprouting, the growth of an industrial, active, intelligent 
national class ; the few unavoidably necessary artisans and 
operatives were all foreigners. There was no native mid- 
dle class of any consequence to stand between the serf 
and the nobleman, as there is none in the South between 
the slave and the master. The mass of the nobility, 
amounting to between two and three hundred thousand 
— and all in principle politically equal — constituted the 
political and civil nation, as is the case to a great extent 
with the aggregate of planters and slaveholders. The 
magnates possessed polish and culture ; the immense ma- 
jority of the small or poor nobility were a lazy, ignorant, 
pugnacious, boisterous rabble, although not murderers or 
treacherous assassins, not heroes of the cudgel. They 
were clamorous at political reunions and diets, virulently 
opposing reforms and progress, averse to recognizing hu- 
man and political rights in others. They considered in- 
dustrial pursuits and occupations as beneath them. They 
spoke with the same contempt of their intelligent, orderly 



laborious, progressive, enlightened neighbors, the Ger- 
mans, as the slavebreeders speak of the Yankees, so far 
superior to them in every way. The Polish nobles boast- 
ed that the world would become starved without their 
cerealia, that they could buy for them whatever else 
they wanted, as the South boasts that the world will be 
naked without its cotton. The world went on ; the Ger- 
man neighbor, Prussia — which as a state shot out of Po- 
lish imbecility — is to-day among the greatest and most 
enlightened nations ; Poland, with its nobility, feeble and 
decrepit, dissolved in ignorance, has disappeared from 
the record of living nations. So mental and material 
degradation, the fruits of serfdom and of free trade, dug 
for centuries the abyss into which Poland fell. 

The South begins to feel its degradation, its backward- 
ness, its industrial and commercial dependence. It tries 
to remedy it by conventions and resolutions, that such or 
such a port or city is to become a Southern metropolis ; 
that trade is to expand, navigation and industry to be 
created. But liberty, civilization, the free opening of all 
issues to human activity, respect for free labor, intelligent 
and educated populations, and not boisterous and foolish 
conventions, create trade, animate cities, raise manufac- 
tures, build ships, and evoking a higher life, evoke and 
fix prosperity. 

Not conventions and resolutions, but freedom has made 
New York, Boston, Philadelphia, the centres of the com- . 
mercial wealth of this hemisphere. Freedom erects cities 
as Cincinnati, Chicago, Milwaukee, and others, which, 
emerging as by a spell from nothingness, teem with indus- 
try, trade, grow with an unheard of rapidity ; while 
Charleston and Savannah, old already by centuries, backed 
by the cotton-growing and slave-whipping South, situated 



near the ocean, see the grass growing in their desolated 

Despotism in its most implacable and virulent action, 
has now become the paramount creed of the upholders of 
slavery. Suspicious, uneasy, alarmed, exasperated, they, 
like all the tyrants, remorselessly proscribe, attempt to 
extirpate, to kill and destroy whatever has the slightest 
shadow of disagreement with the most frenetic conceptions, 
definitions and exercise of slavery. Under penalty of 
lynching, mobbing, imprisonment, expulsion, or assassina- 
tion — applauded from one end to the other in the slavery 
region — no voice can be raised contrary to the institution. 
Its value, its good or evil is forbidden to be discussed, nay 
even the slightest doubt is criminal, is unpardonable. 
Identity of causes produces identity of effects. As the 
Neros, the Domitians, the Heliogobali allowed only one 
worship, that of their person, and of their will, so slavery 
requires from all within its area, to bend the knee and 
worship her. Minds, opinions, words, the secrecy of 
intercourse and of letters are overwatched ; the closet 
as well as the pulpit, the sacred ceremonies of public 
religious prayer are put absolutely under the control of 
slavery. What else was done by the most abhorred ty- 
rants and despots of all times, of all nations ? Not 
in the fiction of a novel, but in inexcusable facts, in 
public speeches, in public acts perpetrated in cities and 
communities, in the numberless articles of the Southern 
press, are brought forth these terroristic principles, are 
recorded those saturnalia of slaveholding polity. For the 
first time the history of the human race will have to deeply 
imbrue in blood and shame the annals of a society, in 
which terror, remorseless espionage, inexorable hatred 
carried to homicide, became the supreme law, being per- 



petrated not by a single despot apd his accomplices and 
mercenaries, but by whole communities. 

In vain for slavery are the teachings of history, the 
fate of tyrants and tyrannies, the rapid fall and ruin of 
social systems, conditions and bodies, needing in self-defence 
to be upheld by stringent and atrocious laws, treading 
in their fury upon freedom, rights, and independent con- 
victions. In the whole world's history never was oppres- 
sion carried out more consistently, conducted with such 
reckless energy, cold blood, understanding and discern- 
ment, than that by Sulla in Rome, for the sake and in the 
name of the Koman patricians. But the oligarchical des- 
potism for which Sulla acted could not stand ; the patri- 
cians lost their power, and the hecatombs of people were 
avenged by their blood. 

On such a social condition is supported what in the po- 
litical struggles of America takes the name of the demo- 
cratic party. But as Demosthenes said : " To a democracy 
nothing is more essential than a scrupulous regard to 
equity and justice." Here slavery extends its action be- 
yond its geographical boundaries, and encroaches upon the 
domain of liberty. So it accomplishes the perversion of 
names and principles. The Southern, the slavery States, 
as a political party in the Union, form the hot-bed, the 
heart, the pivot of such a democracy. Never was mis- 
nomer more salient, never a confusion of truth and false- 
hood, of right and wrong, of justice and injustice more 
complete. A society wherein bondage, degradation, con- 
tempt for labor, for popular education are the cardinal 
strictures, is held up as democracy. Whereas the efforts 
of true democracy are uninterruptedly directed to eman- 
cipate, to enlighten man, to exalt him in proportion to 
his intrinsic worth, and thus to exalt labor, the true main- 
spring of democratic association and polity. Thus de- 



mocracy, one of the highest and most salutary philosophi- 
cal and social conceptions, identified, embodied in slavery, 
has become a social ulcer. The annals of the past, or 
modern European theories, would be searched in vain to 
elucidate how this most generous principle could be ever 
distorted to such an extent for the tise of narrow, egotisti- 
cal schemes and views. It was the lot of America to 
show how it becomes degraded in its substance, when re- 
duced to merely a partisan denomination, a shroud ex- 
tended over a socially and politically corroded body. 

The confessors of the thus desecrated democracy, pro- 
claim her to be conservative of darkness and slavery, of 
abuse and prejudice. But democracy in its genuine and 
pure nature, as it really constitutes the essence of Ameri- 
can society, is neither conservative nor destructive. 
American democracy in its germ, in its growth and devel- 
opment, has been hitherto and is now integrally creative, 
self-improving and progressive. Such a democracy spurns 
the revolting association with slavery, deceitfully seeking 
a shelter behind the splendor of the name, as crime often 
assumes or borrows the semblance of virtue. 

Mental sterility preeminently stamps the pro-slavery 
States. In the boundless expanse of the human mind, the 
slavery region alone gives no signs of a healthy, intellec- 
tual activity. It is a dark speck on the auroral horizon 
of literary America. Science, scholarship, mechanic in- 
ventions, poetry, arts, in one word, the domain of intui- 
tions, of knowledge, as well as that of imagination, belongs 
almost exclusively to New England and to the other free 
States. The South is a withered desert. And as in the 
desert, only a few plants are brought forth by nature's crea- 
tive power ; so in the slavery land it is only a puny slave 
literature that thrives. Forcibly bent and circumscribed 
into a narrow and crooked orbit, the southern intellect has 



seemingly lost all susceptibility, it shrinks and wastes in its 
restriction. It is impossible to rise into the higher domains 
of science, to think, to combine, to embrace and diversify, 
when the power of independent investigation is thwarted 
in man by absolute, narrow, preconceived, and deeply im- 
printed notions. But the South is proud of not produ- 
cing, of not possessing thinkers. Poets and artists can 
find no high inspiration and impulse in the clang of 
chains. In the feverish excitement which surrounds them 
on all sides, the inner world of imagination dissolves and 
vanishes. The pro-slavery or the southern intellect has 
only one issue open, is impressible but by one single phe- 
nomenon, directs its activity towards one single object, 
embraces and comprehends only one single problem, and 
that is slavery. Its forced literary efforts are like those 
of a paralytic for motion. Disgust and sorrow fill the 
mind in wading through such a miasmatic pool, in witness- 
ing such a defilement of the noblest faculties. 

European pauperism — this favorite contrast which sla- 
very champions urge against their opponents — European 
pauperism has not stifled the activity of mind, has not 
dried up or cooled the heart-warmth of those devoted to 
intellectual or scientific pursuits and occupations. Where 
this social evil is the most deeply rooted, there has ap- 
peared against it the most vigorous scientific, philosophical, 
and literary reaction. Statesmen, moralists, theologians, 
economists, poets, artists, in one word, all those whom the 
all-embracing genius of humanity illuminates and incites 
in various ways — all those investigate, analyze the evil, try 
to find a cure, or at least an alleviation ; others, by reality 
or fiction, depict its blighting influence on the poor as well 
as on the rich. Whatever in other respects may have 
been the depravation of those who have supported by their 
pen the abuses of caste or despotic rule, they have never 



sunk so low as to proclaim and elucidate scientifically the 
unavoidable necessity of the moral, mental and material 
degradation of the masses of the people, or of the paupers, 
to uphold it as an imperative condition for the proletaries, 
and for those in a position above them. European science, 
scholarship, and literature preserve and maintain the 
sacred rights of mental independent investigation. In the 
minds, in the souls of those devoted to them, the sciences 
hover above the world's casualties. Their disciples enter 
the sanctuary with minds purified from egotistical, parti- 
san, degrading influences. They shield science from 
being forced to receive the watchword from reckless pas- 
sions. The few who act difi"erently form as rare excep- 
tions in Europe, as do those in the Southern region who dare 
to maintain the independence of science and letters, against 
the all-crushing mental and material corrosion of slavery. 

The recognition of slavery as a cardinal social and po- 
litical element, has destroyed the true statesmanship which 
was once the glory of the Southern region. The men who 
engendered the revolutionary epoch and the independence 
of this country, did not belong to the range of pro-slavery 
convictions. Patrick Henry, Washington, Jefferson, and 
the other great patriots of that time, belonged to an 
anti-slavery epoch. Those men who, as patriots, states- 
men, will shine immortal in the annals of our race, those 
pilots of the new-born nation among the breakers surround- 
ing her first independent movements — these by their creed, 
their culture, their convictions, belonged to the general 
Christian, humane, and at that time European civilization. 
They had nothing in common with the modern exponents 
of the South. In common with the moral creed of the 
civilized world, they recognized in slavery an evil, a curse. 
They admonished their compatriots to arrest, if not to ex- 
tirpate it. For them civic virtue and patriotism were not 



condensed into the belief in slavery. Its modern off- 
shoots in the councils of their own States, or in those of 
the Union, are of a wholly different substance and mould. 
In vain one searches in them for broad conceptions, for an 
enlightened and warm patriotism, for generously elated 
and high-toned feelings, for wide-reaching ideas. Never 
in history can be pointed out such a rapid decomposition 
and degradation of the mental faculties, as well as of no- 
bleness of convictions, as is found in the juxtaposition 
of the men of the anti-slavery times by the side of their 
actual successors. The race, the blood is the same ; — but 
conditions, events have changed, defiled manhood and 

Such a degeneracy, unprecedented in its rapidity, more 
and more thoroughly permeates the Southern society. 
And no wonder. The first generation of the heroes of 
American independence encompassed in their minds the 
world, with its elevated aspirations. Their successors 
began to cut themselves willingly off from all communion 
with the generous and all-embracing interests of mankind, 
concentrating all their mental powers and material re- 
sources upon the organization of a social state and polity, 
outlawed by reason, by the moral sense, by the tendencies 
of the age. Quick and in widening circles extends the 
corrosion. Now the younger generation distances already 
in virulence and blind worship of slavery, those who first 
abandoned the glorious and luminous path of their revolu- 
tionary sires. Its exasperation against freedom and hu- 
man rights, its hostility to discussion, its indifference to- 
wards ennobling and fructifying culture, increases in pro- 
portion to the space of time which separates it from the 
forefathers. Those drew their wisdom from the fountain 
common to the world's civilization. Now the deteriorated, 
secluded social organism makes public education more and 



more divergent from that of other civilized commuiiities, 
more and more circumscribed, compressed. In this man- 
ner pro-slavery education is void of elasticity, of generality, 
of free choice, is trammelled in its expansion. The aim 
publicly asserted is, to elevate slave-breeders, slavery up- 
holders. The avowed tendency is to turn all science up- 
side down. The mental and moral training of the youth 
is to become in harmony with the social institution. A 
conclusion logical in itself, and therefore producing re- 
peated appeals from divines, professors, politicians, and 
the press, for the production of new sources or books for 
tuition in sciences, history, religion and morality, all to 
be made in accordance with slavery. 

Such a proceeding is not new in the history of the 
attempts and efforts to degrade reason, to blight heart and 
soul. It originated with the Jesuits. In order to de- 
prave the youthful minds, the Jesuits, in their educational 
establishments, adjust the sciences to suit their purpose. 
Ethics, religion, history, positive facts and phenomena, 
truth recognized by ages, are perverted and form the 
venom instilled as knowledge. So they have poisoned 
generation after generation. But in the end Jesuitism, 
Jesuits, and their tuition are placed without the pale of 
civilization ; and human reason, human freedom, over- 
clouded, darkened and arrested for a time, emerge victo- 
rious from the deadly struggle. 

Such are the characteristics and the criteria of slavery, 
as the element on which is built this social structure. 
Such is the condition into which it drags its supporters, 
its champions. Thus covered with sores, the Southern 
body politic loudly proclaims its superiority in all respects 
over the citizens of the free States, and, above all, over 
those of New England, The aggregate of habits, senti- 
ments, creative, productive energies, of intelligence mani- 



fested by the freeman, by the New Englander, is in salient 
contrast with those in which, generally or habitually, etio- 
lates the man of the South. There is not one mental 
faculty, not one attribute of genuine manhood, in which 
the Southerner is justified in claiming any superiority over 
the character of the masses of the Northern, Western, and 
Eastern free populations. Because the freeman or the 
Yankee does not spend his time in idleness, because on def- 
erence to the individuality of others he bases his own per- 
sonal honor and security, and thus does not recur to the 
mean and brutal usage of concealed weapons, it is not a 
proof that he lacks genuine courage. A civilized man 
does not consider fighting as the paramount duty. His 
life, his activity is devoted to other pursuits. He prefers 
to study, to enlighten his mind, to work, to plough, to be 
occupied industrially in manufactures and workshops, to 
build towns, mills, railroads, farms, to live peacefully, raise 
well-bred and intelligent families ; in one word, to honor 
humanity in a true manner, rather than by assailing, kill- 
ing and murdering his fellow-men. The civilized man 
resents a personal, wanton outrage by the self-consciousness 
of moral superiority, of that of mind and intellect. All 
this does not exclude courage. The sons of New-England 
shed the first blood in the American Revolution. No 
chivalry surpassed the heroes of Bunker Hill. The Yan- 
kees numbered the most largely in the defence of inde- 
pendence, and they were the last to furl their flag in that 
terrible struggle. They never disgraced their country by 
cowardice. They are men with spirit, courage, endurance, 
and deep love of liberty, and they remain faithful to this 
their common mother. 

New England, with the free States, and their antago- 
nists, the Southern slave-holding communities, started as 
two mighty meteors from one and the same point ; but 



each took an opposite course. The one ascending into 
higher and purer regions of light, freedom and culture ; 
the other whirling down into the chaotic night of preju- 
dices, abuses, and misconstructions of duties, obligations, 
rights and mutual relations. And the fallen, tarnished 
meteor, having lost faith in the original and common es- 
sence, envious of the superiority of the brilliant one, ac- 
cuses it of fanaticism. 

But what is fanaticism, and what makes a fanatic ? 

The initiation of human kind into an ascending and 
superior moral, social and political condition, has been al- 
ways accomplished by self-conscious, unyielding minds, 
liberating themselves at their own risk and peril from 
mental or social bondage, liberating their individual deep 
and ardent convictions from subjection to established, 
worn-out notions or forms. Such fiery minds, identifying 
themselves and the world around them with the sacred 
and sublime ideas which they cherish, have been commoply 
called fanatics. Such fanatics have unhinged and moved 
onward the world and single nations. They have dragged 
human society out of the mire, and given to it a fresh and 
invigorating impulse. Such a state of mind is called a 
fanaticised one by those averse to any emancipation, 
amelioration or progress. Christ and the apostles were 
criminal fanatics to the orthodox high-priests, the Sanhe- 
drim, the Pharisees. Fanaticism extends to all sub- 
jects which deeply move the human mind and heart. 
There are fanatics in religion as well as in patriotism, in 
the love of liberty, in science, in arts. Fanatics for the 
disenthralment of human reason, were the reformers of the 
16th century. Fanatic for science was Galileo ; for po- 
etry, Tasso; for philosophy, Bruno, Vanini, Campanella. 
All those who saerifice themselves for an idea, successful 
or not, an idea encompassing an emancipation of whatever 



nature, are considered by the vulgar mind as fanatics. 
Such, in the eyes of their adversaries, were the heroes of 
the American and of the French Revolution. So fanatics 
are now those who rise to oppose the progress, the exten- 
sion of slavery ; who devote themselves to rescue from ig- 
norance, to redeem their kindred, their white countrymen 
and their former colaborers in the struggle for national in- 

Fanatics are those who above the transient conven- 
tions made between men recognize the prevalence of a 
higher law ; a law which for the religious mind is of di- 
vine emanation, which for the moralist proceeds from the 
inward pure essence of our existence. But in pagan as 
well as Christian times, whatever might have been the con- 
ception of Divinity, and of the relation of man to it, 
whatever might have been the moral standard of society, 
the variously manifested but nevertheless uninterrupted 
and unequivocal tendency of legislators, and even often of 
despots, was to make the laws more or less harmonize with 
what was recognized as the higher law. And woe to the 
society or nation, when its laws oppose these higher 

Slavery with its withering breath reaches the hearth- 
stone of the freeman of the Free States. It corrupts there 
in various ways the public mind and individual character. 
In the generality of men, passions, interests, ambition, 
often get the upper hand of the most generous primitive im- 
pulses and principles. Temptation often proves irresisti- 
ble, and the rule of common sense as well as of morality 
is to avert, to keep temptation out of reach. Thus very 
naturally the better part of the people in northern com- 
munities shudder at the contact, and the deleterious influ- 
ence of slavery upon their citizens. Thus very naturally 
the sense of the people craves to circumscribe slavery 



within absolute and limited precincts, to lessen its power 
in the general political relations whicli concern the whole 
Union. Many are the examples of men of the North 
who embraced the political career, pure and unstain- 
ed, who would otherwise remain true and faithful to 
freedom — this vital principle of the American body politic 
—-and to themselves ; but who, hardened by political 
struggles, gnawed by ambition, give the lie to themselves, 
abandon and deny what once they recognized as the su- 
preme good, and sell their conscience to the support of the 
pro-slavery party. The betrayed must mourn the loss and 
fall of one from among them, and they are justified in at- 
tempting to preserve others in future from pollution. And 
the only way to reach this aim is to render the slavery 
power less predominant in its action on the common father- 
land. Manifold are the enticements which generally car- 
ry away man from the path of duty ; and those growing 
out of the community between the free and the slave States 
are diversified in their action. To them some yield from 
debility of mind, some by the weakness of an otherwise 
good heart, others by want of character or obtuseness of 
intellect, others by fear, others again by egotistical calcu- 
lation bearing on their ambitious schemes or on commer- 
cial pecuniary gains and advantages. And in this man- 
ner slavery most sensibly wounds, afl"ects and vitiates the 
free communities. 

The principle of justice, its character, its administration, 
becomes daily more and more denaturalized, alloyed, and 
perverted, by the alliance of freedom with bondage. Often 
does it happen that the Northern judge, when the interests 
of humanity and freedom clash with those of slavery, 
twists and tortures the law to wrest from it constructions 
and definitions favorable to the latter. Often the clear- 
est principle of law, as established and consecrated by ju- 



dicial science, as well as by the successive acquiescence 
and common use of civil society, if contrary to slavehold- 
ing interests, is made nugatory by the decision of a partial 
judge. The spirit of eternal justice is then banished from 
the law, and the dry and dead letter loads and overturns 
the scales. 

Pauperism has not hitherto withered and blackened 
the sanctuary of justice in the majority of European states. 
When the two opposite interests — that of the poor and 
destitute, and that of the rich — are brought into litigation, 
the judge would rather put the most favorable construc- 
tion of the law on the side of the poor. Above all France, 
Prussia, and several other German states, preserve unsul- 
lied the impartiality of judicial decisions. 

On three cardinal columns reposes slavery in its own 
home. The ministers of various confessions, the press, 
and the public leading men — whose influence on the masses 
is proportional to popular passion, shortsightedness, indo- 
lence and ignorance — form this triad. They stimulate the 
pro-slavery ardor, they justify and reconcile it with the 
duties of man and of citizen; they blunt the consciences of 
the people and harden them against the outburst of gene- 
rous, humane and religious feelings. 

The ministers, those teachers of religion and morals, 
consecrate by the authority of their example and of their 
words, a state of society which is a continual outrage 
against both. In no other Christian country do the min- 
isters of religion exercise such a wide-spread influence as 
they do over the people at large in the United States. But 
pusillanimity or worldly interests make them subservient to 
the imperious commands of slavery. Thus they have iden- 
tified the cause of their God with the cause of bondage 
and of chattelhood. They sustain it in the pulpit and in 
various theological and would-be biblical writings and dis- 



quisitions ; not to mention and enlarge upon the thorough 
absence of religious instruction among the slaves, about 
the immorality which must necessarily prevail among 
those victims, abandoned by G-od and man. Difficult to 
be sure it is for the ministers to speak and expatiate about 
divine love, mercy, and justice, before those to whom no 
love, no mercy, no justice is shown, to whom the quality 
of man is contested. At the marriage of the slaves the 
religious rite becomes degraded by the minister to a ludi- 
crous formality^ and often even this formality is authori- 
tatively dispensed with, without arousing the admonition 
or the holy wrath of the divines. The promiscuity of 
sexes between the blacks is not only tolerated but stim- 
ulated by the masters^ who do not care about the sac- 
ramental ceremony, provided that children are procreated 
and the stock increased. At the best, the master himself 
ties or unties the matrimonial knot among his chattels. 
The ministers are silent as to the birth of mulattoes, who 
necessarily must be the fruits of adultery ; neither do they 
thunder in the name of God against the sale of those mu- 
lattoes by their parents or the nearest kindred. 

Those privileged depositaries, and guardians of what they 
call the Word of God, torture it in order to make it bear 
witness in favor of the biblical justification of the enslave- 
ment of the colored race. Those apostles and expounders 
of the gospel forget the words of St. Paul to the Athe- 
nians : " That God has made of one blood all races of men 
to dwell on the face of the earth." On it dwells the black 
race. If that race might even have been doomed to ser- 
vitude by the curse of Noah, — in the true spirit of Chris- 
tian salvation, the black race was redeemed together with 
the white one, by the sacrifice on Calvary, from previous 
hereditary sins. If there is any truth in the theory of re- 
demption, then the death of Christ atoned for the sin in 



Eden, and for that committed on the slopes of Mount Ara- 
rat as well. Or if, according to the Southern science, the 
black race is different from the white, and inferior to it psy- 
chologically, then even the simulacreum of religion ought 
not to be thrown before it. If the Africans, children of 
the same God, descend from the same common ancestor as 
the planters, and are judged worthy to be embraced in the 
sacrifice of redemption, if before the majesty of God they 
are endowed with all human attributes, and deserve to be 
admitted into Christian communion, — then the more do 
they possess human rights and attributes in worldly rela- 
tions. A religious Christian despoiling his spiritual breth- 
ren of their inborn rights, commits religious and moral 
fratricide, commits the deed of Cain, and the clergy which 
sanctifies such a spoliation take sides with Cain. 

Moreover, in no way can American slavery be justified, 
and still less considered as being authorized by the Scrip- 
tures. Slavery among the Hebrews was different in its 
origin from that established here. Neither Moses nor the 
Scriptures maintain, thai such or such race is predestined 
to be held in bondage by another. The ten command- 
ments do not mention slavery or slaves. J ews were slaves 
one of another ; Hebrew servants were bought, as says the 
Bible. In Egypt the Jews had no slaves, but were en- 
slaved themselves. When they subdued other tribes, or 
conquered them, they transformed their prisoners into 
slaves, as very often they in their turn were enslaved by 
the contrary fortunes of war. Nowhere does the Bible 
speak of slavery as of a social institution, but as of one 
of domestic economy. The character of slavery among 
the Hebrews was accidental and transient, as it was 
among all the other nations of that time. American slave- 
ry is a permanent, unredeemable, social state. Jewish 
slaves, of the same origin, at certain periods were liberated. 



Lepers and leprosy existed among tlie J ews, and the Scrip- 
tures speak of it more than of slavery. Should it there- 
from be concluded that the leper and leprosy have bibli- 
cal authority for their necessary existence ? 

Slavery at the time of Christ and the apostles was of 
the same character as that above mentioned. Christ and 
the apostles considered it as a transient human evil, and 
they were devoted to extirpating the cardinal and perma- 
nent ones. Teaching brotherly love, equality before God, 
they undermined slavery. Christ, Peter, Paul, and the 
other apostles, were mechanical working-men, operatives, 
and thus paid tribute to free labor. The triumph of their 
doctrine in its highest purity, as conceived by them, in- 
cluded the cessation of all kind of social and domestic op- 
pressions. Further, brotherly love, if realized, destroys 
war, and thus the nursery of ancient slavery would have 

The Roman clergy in America, by sustaining slavery 
in the most distant manner, act— even if possible — more 
revoltingly than the ministers of the other denominations. 
At the side of the original Christian doctrine common to 
all those confessions and denaturalized by them all, the 
Roman clergy recognizes absolute obedience to the hier- 
archy, to the orders issued by the supreme heads of that 
Church. Siding with slavery in America, the priesthood 
abandons the multiplied examples given by the clergy at 
the time of the invasion of the Roman Empire. Then the 
Church did not spare moral and material efforts, and used 
its powerful spiritual authority to diminish slavery, to 
foster the emancipation of slaves. Now the branch of the 
Roman Church in this country puts aside the various de- 
cisions of councils and synods, and flatly disobeys the pos- 
itive admonitions and orders of various Popes, thus incur- 
ring directly or indirectly the penalty of excommunication. 



The Koman clergy forget the explicit words of Pope St. 
G-regory the First, admonishing manumission : ^' Homines 
quos ab initio natura creavit liheros, — et jus gentium jugo 
substituit servitutis ; " that clergy deliberately oppose the 
pastoral letters of Paul III., of Urban VIII., of Bene- 
dict XIV., above all that of Pius II., who specially 
blames the conduct of those who reduce negroes to slave- 
ry. Finally, the clergy directly violate the prohibitions 
contained in the Encyclique issued in 1839 by Pope Greg- 
ory XVI., who is not celebrated in history for mildness, or 
for any liberal propensities. This most severe absolutist 
and reactionary Pope, " in virtue of his apostolic authori- 
ty, condemns those who reduce blacks into servitude, or 
buy and sell them ; and by the same authority he abso- 
lutely prohibts and interdicts all ecclesiastics from ventur- 
ing to maintain that this traffic in blacks is permitted 
under any pretext or color whatsoever, or to preach or 
teach in public or in private in any way whatever any 
thing contrary to his apostolic letters." 

The press of the pro-slavery States is a melancholy 
evidence how the most beneficial agency and lever of civi- 
lization and freedom may become a degraded instrumen- 
tality of blind and violent passions. It shows how the 
misused faculty of reasoning can become nefarious and 
pernicious when enlisted in favor of falsehood and outrage. 
The Southern press, the most unrelenting apostle of slave- 
ry, by its every-day action strengthens the prejudices and 
emasculates the minds of the credulous and uncultivated 
masses. If nothing else were at hand, in the Southern 
press one can study and become perfectly familiar with 
the intellectual aberrations in which slavery entangles and 
hurries away its confessors. Its perusal, repugnant in 
itself, is nevertheless the most instructive with regard to 
the deterioration of social morality and manly honor by 



the baneful workings of this institution. All its tenets 
are fully exposed by the Southern press. It not only mir- 
rors the state of opinion, but it is as a focus from which 
radiate the most extreme and vehement incentives. It 
evokes, stirs up the most unbounded and hidden passions 
of those who look to her for direction and advice. It 
encourages all the violences offered to the laws of jus- 
tice and civility. It preaches and incites to lawless- 
ness, to the murder and assassination of those who con- 
sider slavery as a social and political evil, as an institu- 
tion degrading more the master than his chattel. Thus 
even the murder of inoffensive teachers is at times held up 
to the Southern public as a signal service rendered to soci- 
ety. The press carefully nurses all the perversions of sci- 
ence, of polity, of public and domestic economy, adminis- 
tering poison daily and in large quantities. To its ebulli- 
tions are to be principally ascribed the low moral tone, the 
mental prostration of the Southern population. 

The exceptions to this general character of the pro- 
slavery press are few and rare. Still fewer are the instan- 
ces that the cooler and dignified organs sternly rebuke or 
repudiate fellowship with those who sacrilegiously prosti- 
tute the elevated mission of the press. 

What must be the society in which such a press can 
spring up, and which endures, supports, and patronizes it ? 

The politicians, the public men, the statesmen of slave- 
ry, belong to the same category, and go hand in hand with 
the press. As if by reciprocal compact, they do the ut- 
most, they vie with each other in distorting the judgment 
of their fellow-citizens. If some of them, as well as of the 
members of the press, are under what must be believed to 
be an insane exaltation, by far the greatest number foment 
deliberately the prejudices of the people, as an easier way 
to increase their personal inffuence, to secure the leader- 



ship in the district, the State, or that of the whole party. 
If ever history shall preserve their names from oblivionj 
it will consign them to irretrievable condemnation. 

The significance of America in the development, in the 
march of the Christian world, is fully and exclusively em- 
bodied in the Free States. Humanity, history, philos- 
ophy, civilization, ignore absolutely or repudiate the slave- 
ry connection. Without the Free States, America would 
lose the brilliant halo which marks her as the harbinger of 
the future, as the foremost among the nations of the earth. 
The Slave States have hitherto passed unnoticed under 
the fascination emanating from the holy labarum unfurled 
and held in the hand of the intelligent, active, laborious, 
self-improving freemen of the Union. The Slave States, 
separated and alone, would sink at the best into absolute 
insignificancy, would become of less interest than are the 
Papuans or Polynesians for the great association of man- 

If by an unforeseen calamity. Free America should 
become palsied in its onward course, if ever slavery policy 
should prevail in the councils of the united nation, — then 
her phenomenal apparition on the historical horizon will 
be an abortion, a social mistake. Then she will stand 
there branded for future generations and future ages, — the 
sign of disgrace burning for eternity on the brow of this 
fallen genius of humanity. 





Nations, like individuals, have destinies to fulfil. Seldom 
individuals, however, as well as nations, have had a clear 
comprehension of the task allotted to them. Only when 
their course was run could it he said — that their destinies 
were ascertained. 

Hitherto, science, embracing in a general view and 
comprehension the tasks variously fulfilled by nations and 
by representative men, has explained their respective desti- 
nies. Science has unveiled mysteries, disentangled and 
elucidated combinations of events complicated, and for the 
most part otherwise incomprehensible ; events by which 
have been unfolded the destinies, the mission, the charac- 
ter of various epochs and peoples. 

Science has found out the meaning, and pointed out 
the influence of the various conquests and invasions on the 
general march and development of the human race ; science 
has explained the existence of a Cyrus, an Alexander, and 
the insatiable conquering avidity of the Romans, and thus 
has mirrored their destinies. These various conquests have 
mediated the intercourse, and drawn nations nearer to 
each other. They were terrible and rude, but nevertheless 
they were the agencies and channels of civilization. They 
were a bond of union. Alexander opened the door to the 
hellenization of Asia, and centuries afterwards Christian 



doctrine and science profited by the unity of language pre- 
vailing since Alexander in those Greco-Asiatic regions. 
The Roman conquests, overhauling the world, brought and 
mixed together in the interests of general culture, nations 
scarcely aware of each other's existence. Roman unity 
facilitated the first steps of Christianity. 

Science again, long centuries after the event took 
place, explained the mission and revealed the destiny of 
those savage barbarians, the destroyers of the Roman 
world. Clouded and veiled to the actors themselves was 
generally their true destiny ; successive ages and genera- 
tions have lifted the veil and assigned to their action its 
historical and philosophical significance. 

It might seem therefore unjustified by the past, for a 
nation, scarcely equalling in existence the age of one indi- 
vidual, to proclaim already the consciousness of its mani- 
fest destiny. But few if any among the axioms derived or 
framed out from the history and fate of the old nations of 
Europe, find an application to that wholly new phenom- 
enon which constitutes the American nation. Not one of 
the past or of the existing nations of the old world, started 
in social, political life as a self-conscious whole. They de- 
pended upon founders, heroes or chiefs, and thus for the 
most part they have been blind executors of the impulses re- 
ceived from those chiefs. Rome was led on by a consolida- 
ted patriciate having the paramount aim to keep down the 
mass of the Roman people, to keep it busy with wars. In 
the past the Athenian democracy alone had at times, 
lightning like, an insight into its manifest destiny. At 
such moments of revelation, Athens perceived that her 
mission was to democratize the Grecian world ; that the 
interest of her existence was to be surrounded, not by en- 
vious, hostile vassals, but by freely acting and moving de- 
mocracies. The aims, the undertakings, the ambitious 



views, the tendencies and attempts of the chiefs and lead- 
ers of nations, were rarely prosecuted by their successors, 
rarely lived through two generations. And when they 
did, it was rarely beneficial to the nations. The change 
of the person of the ruler, and still more so of a dynasty, 
was accompanied generally by a change, and by a new im- 
pulse to the internal and external activity of the whole 
nation. Thus nations continually directed, conducted, re- 
ceiving the watch-word, have been unused to rely on them- 
selves. They rather groped in the dark, and could never ar- 
rive at a clear individual as well as concrete comprehension 
of their destiny — of the what for and whereto of their 

True it is, that under these supreme, individual influ- 
ences and impulses, there existed, more or less sensibly, a 
kind of under-current, divulging the true tendency, the 
character of an epoch, and of a nation, the more so when 
this nation stood on the foreground of history. This cur- 
rent, powerful at times, carried away the leaders who held 
in their grasp the destiny of the governed; but oftener 
these individuals, strong by the possession of power, and 
still more so by the patient submission, by the inherited pre- 
judices, and even the affections of the masses, have thrown 
impediments or diverted the current from its genuine and 
normal course. So the predominant power of the Popes 
denaturalized, deteriorated, soiled the character, the exu- 
berance and fulness of the mind of the Italians. So Charles 
Y. and Philip II. arrested the tendency of the Spanish 
mind towards religious freedom of conscience ; so Catha- 
rine de Medicis and her two sons succeeded in extirpating 
the religious reform in France, although the teaching of 
Calvin spread in its first period with ease and rapidity, 
showing by it that the masses of the French people were 
wholly accessible, and inclined towards the reformation. 



From the time of its conception as a colony, and more 
so from its birth-day as an independent nation, the Ameri- 
can people outgrew their swaddling-clothes. A principle 
called it to life, and each individual draws from this foun- 
tain, according to his power and capacity, impulsion, di- 
rection, and consciousness. The principle reveals to each 
one, the close connection of his destiny with the destinies 
of the whole, the nation, the state. This uninterrupted 
transmission, unchecked by events, is wholly beyond the 
reach of authoritative decisions, will, and influence ; thus 
the horizon brightens and extends before the intelligent 
perception of each free individual, and he becomes con- 
scious of the general destinies of the society with which 
he lives, moves, and acts. As small sources, brooks, and 
rivulets form a mighty river; as countless rays, united, 
reveal the brilliancy of the sun ; so from countless indi- 
vidual convictions, tendencies, and actions, clearly appre- 
ciated and comprehended, independent but united, is formed 
the powerful current of national life, the luminous light 
projected on national destinies. The onward march of the 
people is not led by an individual, nor by any author- 
itative social body ; the national activity and intelligence 
are neither stimulated nor directed by any power acknow- 
ledged as supreme. Each individual is as a ray plunging 
into the mist which envelops the future, and the millions of 
rays dissolve the cloud which overhangs it. The self- 
consciousness of a whole people more completely compre- 
hends the problem, and works out its solution simultaneously, 
in the spontaneous action of freely associated, intellectual 
and material forces. And so the respective destinies, which 
at the outset of their journey could not have become mani- 
fest and visible to the nations of the past, are clearly dis- 
cerned and manifest to the free, self-improving, self-direct- 
ing American people. 



The races and nations of the Old World reeled in dark- 
ness ; often pushed here and there by availabilities and ex- 
pediencies, by the egotistical aims of their chiefs, they 
pressed on each other in their passage through various 
states of society, as nomadism, savagery, barbarism ; and 
so they do even now. in the state of what is called civiliza- 
tion. No steady purpose has directed them in their secular 
course. The settlers on this continent, above all the Pu- 
ritans, at the first stroke of the axe and of the spade, in 
the first furrow of the plough, laid down the seeds whose 
growth has kept nearly equal step with the increase of mate- 
rial forces and resources. The nations of the past, in deadly 
struggle, disputed with each other soil, hearth, and food. 
Here immense primitive spaces invited, and for centuries to 
come will invite, the vivifying and reproductive action of 
culture and civilization. The then, as now, comparatively 
small number of aborigines repel civilization, and, to 
avoid it, deliberately select destruction. It was and is, 
therefore, clearly unveiled to every American, as his mani- 
fest destiny, to transform the wilderness into a fit abode 
for man. It is his manifest destiny to preserve in their 
purity the principles of social equality, freedom, and self- 
government, which nursed and rocked the cradle in infancy, 
which instructed the youth and inspire the manhood of the 
American people. 

Until now, among the nations of the Old World, some 
believe that they have to settle old accounts between each 
other; and nearly all have imperatively to do this with 
their domestic oppressors. They have to extirpate and to 
change ; so much dust of the past is still rising in clouds 
before the eyes even of the most keen-sighted, that the 
piercing into the future seems almost impossible. Social 
structures are tottering and crumbling. Every body, the 
man of the past as well as the man of progress, are awe- 



struck by the to-morrow, which is dawning menacingly with 
destruction and desolation. American society, having 
started from a fixed purpose and principle, and moving on 
its broad orbit, sees clearly before her ; and her to-morrow 
is not hidden by clouds and imcertainties. The few tran- 
sient specks must finally dissolve ; no gifted, selected 
prophet, but the whole intelligent people can distinctly see 
the brighter and brighter unfolding of its manifest destiny. 

Expand civilization, extend culture and industry, stim- 
ulate intelligent activity all over the continent, and utilize 
its various and almost inexhaustible resources, together 
with the extension of those institutions to which the Ameri- 
cans owe their greatness, prosperity, and rapid progress, 
owe their lofty position among the nations of the earth ; 
all this is a simple and natural revelation and development 
of the American destinies. Simple, likewise pure and 
natural, is the more or less ardent desire to make and see 
others participate in the good which one enjoys. In some 
respects, a similar desire has urged all apostles and firm 
believers, to spread their creeds. Such a feeling is easily 
awakened in the bosom of every American, and easily can 
we conceive his belief, that this task of extension, geograph- 
ically and socially, is his manifest destiny. It is not the 
tendency in itself, but the ways and means of its realiza- 
tion, which in some cases is to be condemned. 

The genuine Yankee, that embodiment of intelligent 
activity, penetrates everywhere, and becomes the bearer 
of a new word. He brings civility, culture, restless but 
productive nimbleness, shrewdness, clear-sightedness, in- 
dustry and order, inseparably combined, and, above all, so 
to say, the innate power and faculty of social constructivc- 
ness. Wherever he sets his foot, a new creation seems to 
sprout out of the soil. Wild nature is combated and 
overpowered, culture dawns, trade stirs up the indolence 



of the native, Indian or white ; new products, that is, new 
wealth is created ; — and the lazy existence of the inhab- 
itants enters in this manner upon a new and re-invigorating 
phasis. Thus the Yankee, the man of the Free States, the 
child of free labor, of the free comprehension of life, be- 
comes, in the new region entered upon by him, the apostle 
of a new social creed, the creator and dispenser of new 
powers, new faculties, new enjoyments. 

The Spanish American, in that respect an image of 
the modern planter of the slave States, started with en- 
slaving the Indians, and did not learn the secret of civi- 
lizing industry ; did not learn how to become great, powerful, 
and rich, not by oppression and spoil, but by labor, asso- 
ciation, and industrious activity. Thus in general the 
Creole population becomes impoverished, and sinks into 
degradation. The exception of a small number of wealthier 
and more polished individuals, forming a distinct class, 
weakens not the rule. The Creole population at large has 
hitherto showed itself wholly unable, by its own efforts, to 
utilize the rich natural resources of the regions which it 
occupies. From the start, the Spaniards have not under- 
stood how to colonize, but only how to be tyrants and to 
plunder. Their progeny and descendants have inherited 
their aversion to labor. Th^se natives, disciplined in indo- 
lence and aversion to civilization by priestly and monkish 
example and rule, are inwardly corroded, and cannot keep 
pace with the American. They must in the long run suc- 
cumb, and dissolve in the great genius of the man of the 
North, who knows how to overpower and tame the wilder- 
ness, to lay down immovable foundations for powerful 
States. This man of the North, settling or spreading in 
those regions, meets with impediments thrown in his path 
by the opposition of darkness to light, of morbidity to 
vigorous health. In his clear, quick, and appreciative 



comprehension, he has only in view what the country ex- 
plored could become, if recast socially by him, and thus 
electrified and evoked to a new, vigorous life. He knows 
that, if he enriches himself, he contributes also to increase 
the prosperity of the community at large. Opposition, 
obstacles, stupidity, irritate him. The torpor which pre- 
vails in men and their institutions, the prejudices which 
counteract his otherwise beneficial activity, at last make 
him ardently desire to bring all the external conditions 
into harmony with the new destinies, of which he is even, 
sometimes, the unconscious initiator. So step by step 
arises the wish for the annexation of the land to his great 
commonwealth — sure as he is to confer in this manner upon 
the new member a higher social and material condition. 
He desires to accomplish this by pacific and intelligent 
conquests. And American conquests do not create de- 
nendencies and colonies, but free and sister States. 

Such is the high and pure development and working of 
manifest destiny. It has however its low and impure ex- 
pression. This second one pours out from the unbridled 
coarseness of that section, which directs all its efforts to 
the extension of slavery. For the Slave States' manifest 
destiny consists in propagating the cancer which is eating 
them up. Not liberty, industry, culture, order, are to be 
brought to other regions ; but subjugation, and the clank 
of chains, the curse and the groans of victims. Not the 
laborious, the civilized, the industrious, but the idle, the 
reckless adventurer, the rough and ignorant, are the bearers 
of this kind of destiny. Not the factory, the mill, im- 
proved agricultural implements, the school, the law, are to 
be transplanted ; but the arbitrary will of the master, the 
slave-pen, the domestic, internal slave-trade, ignorance and 
misery. The originators and the carriers of such-like gifts 
are not men bound upon the honest pursuits of life, but 



are recruited among the social offal, among vagrants, 
among the impure and corroded agglomerations of large 
cities. Such apostles of manifest destiny are condemned 
and execrated by the men of the Free States, by the im- 
mense majority of the intelligent, honest, and laborious 
population. Against such invaders and violators, humanity 
and policy, America and Europe, the Christian and the 
pagan world ought to unite. 

Unhappily this worst feature of the working out of 
manifest destiny, is a consequence of a hitherto prevailing 
historical development, carried out to its ugliest extremes. 
It is stimulated here by free and self-governing institu- 
tions, which leave the individual uncontrolled in his actions 
and pursuits. Nearly all the invasions and conquests on 
this continent were originally the result of an adventurous 
enterprise. The authorization given by kings or popes 
does not change their filibustering character. Columbus 
alone set out, not for conquest — but, as it is known — in 
search of a way to the East Indies. But after him — the 
Puritans excepted — all the other discoverers and con- 
querors of America, North and South, were exclusively 
impelled by greediness for gold. All started in this pur- 
suit with the idle purpose to quench this thirst without any 
regard to ways and means, to become speedily rich at the 
cost and by the oppression of former occupants. When 
force could not avail, cunning was resorted to ; but the 
chief object was always extortion and subjugation. What 
difference is there in reality between Walker and some 
other modern filibusters, and Cortez, Pizarro, Ealeigh, and 
even the Cabots and the rest ? Only the epoch in which 
they live differs ; but the character of their action, its 
motives are one and the same. A lucky adventurer be- 
comes a hero ; and often a hero, when unsuccessful and 
fallen, passes for an adventurer. Filibustering seems to 



such an extent inborn in the nature of the American, and 
to prevail in the course of American events, that it was a 
kind of filibustering expedition from New-England itself, 
which transformed the Dutch New- Amsterdam into tho 
modern New- York. 

On the whole, however, this filibustering, grovelling 
excrescence in the political condition of America, has been 
hitherto checked by the far more powerful soundness of the 
national character. It was more in words than in action, 
and not to conquests of a filibustering character, that the 
American republic owes its rapid, and almost miraculous 

Its ways and means are original, and, up to this time, 
unused in history. They difi'er from all the modes of ex- 
tension used in all other epochs, and by all other nations 
or sovereigns ; they are truly American, and constitute a 
cardinal difference between the history of the States of the 
Old World, and that of the United Republic. 

It is a common-place saying, thrown out by the parti- 
sans of absolute and monarchical governments in the face 
of republics and democracies, that these are always ag- 
gressive and greedy of conquest. With the exception of 
Rome, history does not justify this saying, by showing ag- 
gression exclusively on the side of republics. All the 
monarchies, of whatever age, nature, and form, have been 
always warlike, conquering, and aggressive. All of them 
extended their possessions by invasions and conquests, and 
uninterruptedly imbrued the annals of the human race in 
blood. Republics have been few, democracies still fewer ; 
and any one, even superficially familiar with history, ought 
conscientiously to acknowledge, that they have been less 
aggressive than monarchies. 

Still less are justified the modern European assertions, 
made by governments and political writers, concerning the 



insatiable desire to extend the American nation. In face 
of their past history, as well as of their present uninter- 
rupted proceedings, it does not behoove any of the European 
states to upbraid America. Not by war and violence, but 
by agreement and purchase, the American Union reached 
the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific, everywhere intro- 
ducing civilization, industry, and culture. Even the ac- 
quisitions made by the war with Mexico, have been paid 
for ; an action unknown and unwonted in the history of 
any other victorious nation or government on earth. No 
one at that time anticipated the riches of California, and 
European states have no reason to complain, that they see 
that once savage and abandoned region, transformed into 
an orderly and flourishing State. While America pur- 
chased and extended itself over the wilderness and un- 
peopled solitudes, England almost daily overthrows and 
absorbs organized, populous, and rich empires in India, 
extending over thousands of square miles, and with mil- 
lions and millions of population. English conquests are 
destructive ; American purchases and annexations are or- 
ganic and creative. Therein lies the whole difference. 
England extorts tributes, imposes heavy taxes, presses 
down and impoverishes the natives : — America promotes 
new life, not for her own sake, not for her exchequer, but 
for the benefit, advancement, and interests of all other na- 
tions. France and Russia extend their dominion, the one 
in Africa, the other in Asia ; and their conquests, in their 
civilizing purpose and character, as well as in that of the 
regions over which they are extended, have a certain simili- 
tude to the American annexation. If other European 
states and sovereigns do not engage in warfare and con- 
quest, it is not the will, but the possibility which is want- 
ing. Each of them has invaded, conquered on a small 
scale, as much as it could at given circumstances and 



epoclis. Austria, Prussia, Piedmont, would readily ab- 
sorb their neighbors, if they were not mutually checked 
by each other, or by other states. Among them all, 
America alone can proudly raise its brow, and not shrink 
from historical and political comparisons. 

The consciousness of carving out the manifest destiny 
of this continent, inaugurates a new distinct policy for 
America, in her relations with others, above all with Euro- 
pean governments. The technical name of this policy, 
called the Monroe doctrine, is only its partial enunciation. 
In its full comprehension, this policy is the utterance of 
maturity and manhood, is the fulfilment of the historical 

This continent ought to be independent and sheltered 
from any direct, that is, governmental, or indirect, political 
and diplomatic influence, to be exercised in any way by 
European powers. It is natural to the free Union, to 
look for an end of the colonial dependency of any region 
on this continent upon what is called the mother countries ; 
it is natural to see the Americans extend their flag, to shield 
other States here from the baneful breezes of European 
policy. The European monarchies, based all of them with- 
out exception on prerogatives and privileges, surrounded 
by various kinds of aristocracies, are conjured not to allow 
a republic to start among them, to preserve the royal and 
aristocratical brotherhood untouched. It is natural and 
logical that this commonwealth wishes and tends to be 
surrounded by a cluster of sister democracies. It is logical 
and natural that it tends to see the whole continent fully 
emancipated. No dependency ought to exist. The natu- 
ral bonds between Europe and America arc only those of 
commercial intercourse and exchange, and of ideas and 
notions ; all on the footing of absolute political equality. 
The supremacy of Europe over the internal affairs of this 



whole continent must and ought to have an end. It is 
natural and logical for the United States, that, embodying 
a new and higher social principle in its vigorous growth 
and expansion, they should assert their rights, and speak 
to the old world peremptorily in the name of the new one. 
The American Eepublic does not interfere with the annexa- 
tions and extensions carried out by various European powers 
on the other parts of the world ; — but it is her most sacred 
duty to repel any encroachments of Europe on the soil of 
America, as well as to repel the intervention of European 
policy in any relations, domestic or external, of the North or 
South- American States. It is duty and right to put a term 
in the name of this new world, to the arrogant and unjustifi- 
able assumption of European monarchical governments, to 
regulate in any way the affairs of this hemisphere. The 
real supremacy of Europe in the arts, in several branches 
of manufactures, industry, science, and literature, will by 
itself preserve its influence. This supremacy, of which the 
European people are the creators, is independent of the 
action on it of the governments. These civilizjng and 
pacific channels alone can unite the two worlds. Europe 
might still serve in many mental and intellectual respects, 
as a master to America ; nevertheless the action of the 
currents is reciprocal. But the governments of Europe 
are not so constituted as to exercise any beneficial influ- 
ence on this continent. Against them alone is to be di- 
rected, in its fullest meaning and extent, the Monroe doc- 
trine. The European governments, on the contrary, in 
questions of general policy, must yield to the principles 
asserted by the American E-epublic. This irrefutable in- 
fluence of reason, as proclaimed by America, has already 
enforced upon the European powers the modification of the 
maritime laws concerning neutrals. Before long, Europe 
will be obliged to recognize the superiority of the princi- 



pies laid down by the United States, and accept in full the 
law of absolute respect by belligerents of all private prop- 
erty on the high seas, a principle put forward and urgently 
advocated by the American policy. 

From whatever point of view we regard the question, 
Europe has not a right to interfere on this continent. 
Only, if America should tread down the sacred principles 
wherein she originated; if America should swerve and 
abandon the luminous orbit of freedom and civilization, 
pervert her character, and use her power for extending 
and implanting slavery in regions where it does not exist, 
or where it has been already abolished ; in one word, if 
extension of the Union should become synonymous with 
bondage and chattelhood, with the slave-trade ; then only, 
as the positions would thus become reversed, and Europe 
defend a holier principle, her intervention and her defence 
of sacred human rights would be justified before the tribu- 
nal of justice, morality, civilization, and history. 

Europe ought not to have any footing on the American 
continent. Justly, likewise, the European powers will 
never allow to the American Republic to acquire any foot- 
hold in Europe. In this respect, both the continents 
ought to be absolutely independent and free of each other. 
Under no pretence, American interference with European 
internal affairs, with wars or revolutions, would be justi- 
fied. Principles and example are the only agencies — moral 
ones — of the action of America on the old world. No 
other republican propaganda could justly be put forward ; 
and if attempted, then the governments of Europe, of 
whatever character, free or absolute, ought to coalesce and 
repel the intrusion. 

The emancipation of European nations must be worked 
out from within themselves, and with the ideas, notions, and 
material means that exist among them. Their condition 



is a volcanic one — eruptions will succeed one another — 
perhaps for a long time, before a brighter future can dawn 
upon that part of the world. Whatever may be this fu- 
ture, and its final organism and form, it must be constructed 
and shaped from existing data and elements, and not in 
imitation even of the American social development. 

As has been mentioned in previous chapters, the Eu- 
ropean nations have few if any elements of self-govern- 
ment. The comprehension of its principles is not familiar 
even to the most advanced reformers. Self-government, 
to be beneficial, can only be handled by masses in an ad- 
vanced state of civilization, like those of New-England and 
of some of the other Free States. Otherwise it is a dan- 
gerous and damaging experiment. Already its functions 
begin to be distorted and desecrated, by the weight of the 
ignorant and barbarian masses that pour in here from the 
old world. The future of Europe is thickly veiled ; it is 
a problem whose solution belongs to new men, to new gen- 
erations. America cannot even render the service of a 
midwife or nurse in this painful delivery. The European 
nations are in a peculiar condition ; various ideas and con- 
ceptions of future reform and reconstruction ferment in 
their brain ; and out of them, in due time, under propitious 
circumstances, will emerge the word of regeneration. No 
action of America ought to precipitate the advent of that 
hour. Forced deliveries bring forth generally sickly abor- 
tions. If the European peoples are unable by themselves 
to break their chains, to raise by themselves a new social 
structure, no helping of America can be of any real utility. 
The populations of Europe outnumber ten times that of 
the Union ; an American expedition to support any nation, 
will be like adding a drop to the Ocean. If the European 
nations rise simultaneously against their present rulers, 
then they ought to be strong enough to expel them ; if 



each will try single-handed, then the allied kings will be 
strong enough to repel and annihilate any armed interven- 
tion from America. The European nations are divided 
into two camps ; and their oppressors are supported by the 
natives themselves. It was not any foreign help or inter- 
vention that strangled liberty in France and Grermany, 
but domestic troops. Frenchmen fought against French- 
men in the streets of Paris on the 2d of December. Prus- 
sian troops quietly put down the liberal movement in 
Berlin, and fought in Dresden and Baden. Austrian 
troops stormed Vienna for their Emperor. As long as 
these central nations of Europe are unable to disenthrall 
themselves, the smaller ones will be oppressed and depend 
upon the fate of the greater. France and Germany reor- 
ganized, oppression in Italy ends as by a spell. 

Europe is not wanting in sinewy arms to fight her bat- 
tles, nor in implements of warfare. Arsenals and manu- 
factures are teeming with weapons sufficient to arm the 
whole active population. All the material means are pos- 
sessed by Europe in proportions far surpassing what 
America could effect as an ally of the struggling nations. 
Men, arms, money — European capital flow continually to 
this point. The continent of Europe possesses immense 
accumulated wealth in gold and silver. It is the problem 
of the revolutionist, to get hold of these resources. At the 
present moment, in the banks which sprout out in all 
points of Germany, in imitation of the American system, 
there lies deposited in bullion far more than in all the 
chartered banks of the United States. Sums large enough 
to vivify any revolution. Taxes now levied by rulers can 
be turned into the revolutionary chests. What paltry aid 
could America contribute in comparison with such re- 
sources, and of what small use could this aid be ? 

America is admonished by some revolutionary apostles 



to pay lier debt, contracted by the succor tendered ber by 
France against England. But America bad at tbat time 
neitber arms, sufficient men, nor money. All tbese objects 
are now abundant in Europe. The conditions are wbolly 
different, and it is no ingratitude in this country, if sbe 
does not arm in favor of political parties struggling in 
Europe. The liberals, the reformers are seemingly in mi- 
norities ; otherwise they would not want any support. 
And if they cannot succeed without foreign help in es- 
tablishing their principles, how will they maintain them- 
selves when this help shall retire ? It is therefore in no 
way the manifest destiny of America, to interfere with 
European broils, or to propagate revolutions on that con- 

The European and the American social worlds ought 
each to run a distinct and separate course, in special orbits, 
without interfering with each other. Like the celestial 
bodies, they could be under the influence of combined at- 
tractions, and like them they ought to move in the social 
space, without clashing with and impeding one another. 
Civilizing and commercial interests alone are to inter- 
twine them. Both have the same problem before them, 
namely, to secure the greatest attainable freedom and 
material happiness to the masses. The solution of the 
problem, it is likely, will be worked out differently by 
both parts of the world, as both find themselves in different 
conditions. The human race for ages aspires and tends 
to the realization of justice and reason ; sages and legisla- 
tors have had the same aim, but their conceptions and 
comprehension have differed. Erom Zoroaster, Pythago- 
ras, Plato, Solon, down to Fourier and to our times, the 
great object of social organization has been to secure to men 
and harmonize moral and material welfare. This harmony 
was, above all, the aim of Christ, and is the tendency of 



well understood Christianity. Through J ohn, his most be- 
loved and most spiritual disciple, Christ said, " that his king- 
dom " — that is, the kingdom of love and justice — " is not 
now of this world." Christ therefore did not exclude from 
happiness the material existence of man, but comprehended 
the earthly, material kingdom united with the spiritual, mo- 
ral, or heavenly one. Man's happiness in this world, that is, 
Christ's kingdom, could not have been based on the mate- 
rial misery of humanity, or of its greatest number, Christ 
therefore foretold the realization of this harmonious union, 
when the seeds of fraternity and love sown by him should 
have purified man's nature. That man is to be in full pos- 
session of moral and material development, enjoyment, and 
beatitude on this earth, Christ taught in the daily prayer, 
still repeated by millions and millions of the Christian 
world. The kingdom of Grod is to come to man ; that is 
in the conditions of his existence here below ; and not that 
man, miserable, poor, destitute here, but transformed by 
death, is to go hereafter into the kingdom of heaven. 

The European nations gravitate — very slowly, it is 
true — towards a general amelioration of their social, moral, 
and material condition ; but the American commonwealth 
can by no material fact or action advantageously accelerate 
the European movement. The American destiny and 
duty is to watch over this continent, to accomplish by 
peaceful means its emancipation from European rule. 
Colonies and dependencies must sooner or later disappear 
from the new world. European governments will be 
obliged by the force of events to resign all supremacy, and 
give up their possessions on the American continent. The 
now independent Union contributes more to the prosperity, 
to the industrial and commercial development of England, 
than could ever have been done by the colonies. The same 
will be the case with Canada, when it has once outgrown 



the European governmental swaddling-clothes. As has 
been said before, there still exist, and will exist for a long 
time to come, various moral and intellectual accomplish- 
ments, securing a partial leadership to Europe. Both 
hemispheres have a great deal to exchange peacefully, and 
to learn from one another. 

It would seem that any forcible transmission or propa- 
gation from West to East is contrary to the laws, to the 
tendencies of nature. Science and history show that, since 
the formation of the present earthy surface, the vegetable 
kingdom, animals, man, and ideas, have marched from the 
East towards the West. Such was the principal current 
of the migration of the historical races, and in their train 
that of useful domesticated animals, of seeds and plants. 
In the East were born the religious and philosophical 
ideas which animated the Christian civilization. As the 
Grreeks drew from the East the primitive rays of culture, 
enriching and multiplying them in their own exuberant in- 
dividuality, so the post-Koman Europe gathered the remains 
of G-recian civilization ; and on Aristotle, Plato, and the 
other lights of the classical world, were nursed those minds 
which begat in all its variety the modern European social 
and philosophical culture. The American social state 
sprouted out from rudiments brought from Europe ; puri- 
fied, to be sure, and recast, remodelled, under the pressure 
and action of new conjunctures and causes. 

Hitherto the West has never strongly reacted on the 
East. Alexander's empire dissolved as soon as built ; the 
Seleukides, the Ptolemies became absorbed by the Eastern 
luxurious life, and a mongrel, feeble G-reco- Asiatic culture 
issued from these violent nuptials. Rome, after conquering 
the East, broke down under the effeminacy resulting from 
this conquest, and finally the East separated. The Popes 
of Eome could never subdue the Eastern Church j the ef- 



forts, the devotions, the sacrifices of the Crusades dissolv- 
ed in nothingness. Napoleon unsuccessfully battered the 
East through Egypt and Russia ; and even recently the 
efforts of Europe to break through the Eastern spell were 
foiled before Sebastopol. 

Europe has received all the animals and useful nutri- 
tious seeds and plants from Asia, and transferred them to 
America. Coffee, sugar, cotton, those rich staples are of 
Eastern origin. Even the bee, whose original home is 
the western slope of the Ural Mountains, thrives here, 
when it cannot in any way be propagated east of the above 
named mountains. The original products of the American 
continent have not contributed largely to the benefit of 
Europe or of the East. Aside from a few medical plants 
of real utility, of a few spices, of caoutchouc, the great 
staples introduced to Europe since the discovery of this 
continent consist of potatoes and tobacco, both of rather 
dubious qualities in regard to their utility and influence 
on the domestic, economical and sanitary condition of the 
European population. The exaggerated culture of the po- 
tato has, it may be, occasionally preserved the people 
from famine, in various European countries ; but it has 
also often occasioned it. Some attribute to the potato 
the extension of the scrofula among the continental pop- 
ulations. Above all, however, the culture of the potato 
has enormously increased the production of alcohol, and 
thus intemperance, and all its retinue of misery, destitu- 
tion, crimes and vices, have been facilitated and increased 
over the greatest part of Northern Europe — as Germany, 
Sweden, Norway, Kussia, Austria. Tobacco, having be- 
come almost a necessary of life, even for the poorest, 
without any nutritious, but with rather a deleterious in- 
fluence on the health, — is therefore an unproductive, and 
in many ways an impoverishing discovery. Maize, or In- 



dian corn, is traced, by some scientific investigators, to 
Asia, whence it might have been brought to this continent 
at some remote period. In the south of Europe, maize 
has long been known and cultivated, although not on a 
large scale — wheat being preferred. In Italy, Southern 
Germany, the Slavonias, the Danubian Principalities, and 
in Southern Russia, maize is called Turkish wheat, or cucu- 
ruzza; in G-reece it has the name of arahositi, or of 
Arabian wheat or corn. 

The animals of this continent are useless for Europe. 
The breed of the alpaca was tried in Europe, but unsuc- 
cessfully, while the sheep spreads here with the same facil- 
ity as in the old world.* 

A community and a political state originating in prin- 
ciples of reason and of peace, ought not, it would seem, to 
breathe the martial spirit which prevails in America. 
This anomaly, however, is the result here, as elsewhere, 
of feelings — probably inborn generally in human nature — 

* It is curious to observe to what extent the Americans identify 
themselves with the animal and vegetable kingdoms belonging to this 
continent, and existing prior to its discovery. They generally con- 
sider as a slight to their countiy any mention of the superiority of 
European animals or vegetation over those of America. They defend 
it against the charge of diseases, whose origin science or history at- 
tributes exclusively to America when she was possessed by the In- 
dians. It is generally maintained that syphilis was unknown to the 
old world previous to the discovery of America. The Spaniards took 
it from the natives and brought it to Europe. It is said that from 
Spain it came to Naples, Italy, and France, receiving the name in 
these two last coimtries of the Neapolitan disease, as it was and is 
still commonly called in Germany and in the whole North the French 
one. Mr. Prescott, the narrator of the reign of Ferdinand and Isa- 
bella, relying on some doubtful and obscure quotation and authorities, 
is glad, as he says, to prove that syphilis was known in Europe two 
years previous to the voyage of Columbus, and that the Indians and 
their continent can be whitewashed from the slander. 



or which otherwise became natural to man by being im- 
pressed on his mind through the uninterrupted action of 
long ages and countless generations. Military glory, mil- 
itary achievements, have always dazzled the imagination 
of the masses. Even the soundest and most clear-sighted 
intellects usually succumb to the charmer, and become 
lost in the admiration of bloody laurels. From the hour 
of the first association of man, from the time of the first so- 
cial structures, patriarchates, empires, kingdoms, or repub- 
lics, the history of the world re-echoes the war-strife, and 
its great heroes are conquerors, and the world-unhinging 
captains. It was and is firmly rooted in the minds of even 
eminent moralists and philosophers, that war is the neces- 
sary baptism of a self-asserting nation, that war is a pow- 
erful agency in the service of civilization. Contrary 
convictions pierce slowly, and toilsomely they come to 
daylight. But a very long time will run before peace and 
not warfare shall become an absolute social and political 
fact, a historical law. The American Commonwealth in- 
augurated itself among the nations of the earth by the 
baptism of blood. After the first and glorious victory, 
the old enemy, envenomed by defeat, taunted the young 
nation. It was difficult for England to renounce the idea 
of her ephemeral military superiority, and she thirsted for 
an occasion to revenge the afi"ront. In 1812, unjustly as- 
sailed, the Union learnt that it ought always to be prepar- 
ed to meet and repulse unscrupulous enemies. " Quivis 
pacem para bellum," is an ancient saying ; and America 
must be armed for emergencies. But America will never 
assail Europe, In the present condition of general pol- 
icy, some of the European powers, however, might in ex- 
treme cases, throw the torch of war upon the shores of 

A free man feels the value of liberty, and is always 



ready to defend it heartily, without compulsion. But will 
and devotion are not sufficient ; drill and skill increase a 
hundredfold the powers of defence and action. The or- 
ganization of national militias, principally in view of re- 
pulsing a foreign enemy or invader, nourishes and stimu- 
lates the martial predisposition. And well it is that in 
the present condition and relations with other powers, this 
spirit is entertained. It is even shameful and ridiculous 
to see youth, preposterously imagining itself to be some- 
thing better than the great bulk of the people, to see this 
sham aristocracy declining to partake in the duties and 
exercises on which depend the peace, the immediate desti- 
nies of the fatherland. As long as justice and reason 
shall not absolutely rule the various political, external, nay 
even internal relations, war must always be possible. 
Declining are the destinies of a country, which is obliged 
in case of emergency, to recur to mercenaries, even if re- 
cruited among its own population. A small standing army 
might not prove thus fatal, but the experience of ages 
teaches that such armies finally become tools for oppres- 
sion. Free states, republics, have tended towards destruc- 
tion, when wealth and effeminacy dissolved the martial 
spirit — ^when the rich and poor youth avoided the civic 
military duties, and when mercenaries stepped into their 
place. So Thebes, and above all Athens, after the Pelo- 
ponnesian wars, saw the ancient spirit slowly expiring 
among them. The Athenians became disused to arms — 
unable to cope with the trained Macedonian bands — they 
recurred to mercenaries, and the last hour of Athenian 
and Grecian liberty was marked on the dial of ages. 

There is no danger that the preservation of the mar- 
tial spirit, in the free and civilized States of the Union, 
will degenerate, and become tantamount to a savage, reck- 
less spirit of assault, invasion, and piracy. The popula- 



tion of "those States value tlie worth of civilization, of 
peace and its blessings ; they prefer the quiet pursuits of 
agriculture and industry, the family hearth, to the roving 
idleness of military bands and expeditions. Not among the 
intelligent freemen are such bands started and recruited. 
Slavery institutions, promoting idleness and contempt for 
labor, inculcating from childhood perverted notions on the 
duties and relations of a member of society, breed individ- 
uals who contract habits that fully qualify them to be food 
for gunpowder. Among the populations of the Slave 
States, as well as among the scum of large cities, individ- 
uals therefore can be easily found who are ready to risk 
their charmless life in the invasion of other pacific nations. 
Such a spirit has nothing in common with that noble mar- 
tial one, which is vivid in the men of Free States, the no- 
ble defenders of their homes and liberties, but not savage 
aggressors on those of others. 

America as a nation is so situated that her extension, 
even if aimed at indefinitely, can be accomplished more 
easily by peace than by aggression. The band of the fed- 
eration is limitlessly elastic. To it gravitates — at pres- 
ent it may be imperceptibly — the North and the South — 
Canada as well as the republics of Central America. That 
the result of such union will be the successive disappear- 
ance and dissolution of the Creole race in its own shiftless- 
ness, is almost indubitable. In Louisiana, Florida, the 
original native elements, living on equal rights with the 
new comers, preserving their respective idioms in all the 
every-day and domestic relations, vanish or are absorbed, 
dissolved, by the preponderating influence of the language 
used by the law, in politics and in business, used for gen- 
eral and public education, as they are absorbed by the in- 
flux of new occupants. The same will occur with the 
Spanish inhabitants of the central states or of Cuba, if 



they shall enter the Union. They will yield the path to 
she northern man, (not however to the slavery extenders 
and pirates,) to his superior activity, industry, culture, ro- 
bustness of mind and of body. And those among the na- 
tives who may be able to keep step with the men of the 
North, will merge in the new culture and language, and 
only the family names will tell of the original difference. 
It is this certainty of absorbing by the superiority of in- 
tellectual muscle, other populations coming in contact with 
him, that increases in the American of the North his faith 
in the manifest destiny. By this superiority, and by 
peaceful arts, industry, commerce, he attracts ; by them 
he increases the national wealth in colossal proportions ; 
and can buy lands, paying for them millions, as he did to 
the Indians, and annex. Canada, united already by iden- 
tity of birth, of language, and of interests, must finally 
by her own free choice throw away her royalist livery, and 
become an independent and self-acting member of the 

The preservation of the martial spirit is not therefore 
an agency or a lever for the fulfilment of manifest desti- 
nies — as those destinies are not pregnant with the curse 
and calamities of war. War is inborn among the nations 
of past and of modern Europe, it exhausts their material 
resources, demoralizes their respective populations, dis- 
abling them for freedom and for its acting soul — self-gov- 
ernment. War in the life and development of America 
is an excrescence on the social body, an excrescence pro- 
duced by an irritating action from without, or by the fer- 
mentation of the impure elements created inwardly in the 
body by the deviation of a part of the nation from the 
fundamental principles of reason and justice, from which 
America draws her life. 

The European nations and governments can only be 



losers by carrying a war against the American republic. 
This conviction they acquire daily. They and not Amer- 
ican industry and commerce will suffer losses and stagna- 
tion ; an industry which the American consummation thus 
eminently contributes to nourish. England stands fore- 
most among the European powers, which from tradition 
and false policy, is more prompted than others to interfere 
with matters concerning this continent, and thus create 
complications which could reach so great irritation, as to 
require forcibly to be cooled by war. But even in Eng- 
land, opinion, enlightened by material interests, supports 
the efforts of the friends of reason, civilization, and hu- 
manity, aiding them to smooth difficulties and solve them in 
a peaceable way. The results of a struggle between the 
two nations would be calamitous beyond calculation. Nev- 
ertheless such a struggle, if protracted for several years, 
would end in the prostration of England, and in the 
thorough industrial emancipation of the United States. 
All the branches of domestic industry, most of them 
having at home inexhaustible resources in the necessary 
raw material, being thus stimulated by the exclusion of 
foreign imports, would take wing, and free the country for 
ever — even for times of peace — from external competition 
and overflowing. To be sure, the influx of English capi- 
tal would have an end ; but comparing the sums exported 
from the United States in gold to pay for foreign, 
above all for English merchandise, this capital remaining 
at home, put in circulation and employed productively, 
would compensate for the English investments. Domes- 
tic wealth would increase with the expansion of domestic 
industry, and new capital would be created. The conti- 
nental system, during the reign of Napoleon, has after all 
eminently contributed to develope industry in France and 
Germany. The United States, possessing inexhaustible 



iron ore and coals, nevertheless cover the soil with im- 
ported rails, laid often over regions where crude iron, left 
idle on the surface, stares in wonder at such a waste and 
neglect of domestic means. Prussia, after years of pro- 
tection, is ready now to compete with England in iron, 
and Prussian competition will be limited only by the in- 
sufficient quantity of raw material. America could light 
furnaces and sink shafts, equalling at least in number 
those in England, and America imports iron wares. Fur- 
naces kindled in America would extinguish those burning 
in England for the American demand ; and English mi- 
ners and workmen after a war would be obliged to emi- 
grate to this country, following the demand for their labor 
and skill. The same would be the case with many other 
branches, which once developed during the war, would for 
ever exclude England from the American market. 

England per contra would be unable to find any where 
the sufficient quantity of cotton for her mills — which 
would become stopped by a war, and the operatives thrown 
upon the streets. Thus by a war the demand for labor 
would increase in America, decrease in England. In 
peace English industry depends in a great measure on this 
country. Nowhere can England find such prosperous 
consumers, and who demand such large supplies. Eng- 
land exports more to the United States than to all Eu- 
rope, with her more than two hundred millions of popula- 
tion. Erom whatever aspect it is considered, England 
alone would be a heavy loser by a war. 

America's expansive tendency and internal develop- 
ment would not be arrested by a war. The losses in men 
and capital would become speedily compensated. European 
powers, as well as European nations, daily and daily more 
clearly understand, that the prosperity of that hemisphere 
increases with the preponderating influence of North 



America. England gets more than the lion's share of the 
gold from California, transformed as by a spell from an 
■unknown solitude into a flourishing community, by the ex- 
pansive energy, the activity, the constructiveness of the 
freemen from the free States. The creative and untiring 
activity of these genuine Yankees covers the pestilential 
marshes -with railroads, clears the forests, subdues wild 
nature, and aids the surplus of European populations to 
take possession of those primitive, or badly cultivated re- 
gions. The free North Americans are alone born to start, 
to create, to organize and direct new communities, and 
thus to facilitate the efforts of Europeans. They alone 
possess the required self-consciousness and energy, and 
above all the inborn faculty of social organization. By 
the extension of American freedom Europe becomes bene- 
fited, and new and prosperous marts are opened as outlets 
for her industry. 

"War will not therefore prevent the progress of America, 
and is not necessary to forward the fulfilment of her manifest 
destiny. Not war alone, however, requires human sacri- 
fices. Fate or providence demands from man to pay with 
his life every initiation, be it a warlike or a pacific one. 
This terrible law towers over the destinies, the progress, 
the mental, moral and material development of our race. 
The turning up into culture of new soils, poisons and kills 
the first cultivator. The richer, the more exuberant is 
nature, the deadlier the strife, the more destructive her 
powers of defence, the greater the number of victims. 
But the death of the fallen in those battles of exploration 
and culture, is productive of good to their immediate fol- 
lowers ; and labor, capital often seemingly lost and in- 
gulfed in such civilizing enterprises, are generally re- 
trieved by those who follow in the cleared up path. Many 
hundreds of thousands of men, and millions of capital and 



material destroyed in wars, remain for ever lost and un- 
productive. With the money, the material and the labor 
of men destroyed in the last Eastern war, the whole of 
Central America could have been transformed into a 
healthy, flourishing habitation for a free, active, indus- 
trious, and vigorous race ; her mountains, marshes and riv- 
ers been intersected by easy ways of communication, and 
the tropical region finally conquered for the free labor of 
the white man. 





Freedom and social equality, freedom enjoyed by man's 
labor and industry, tbe security of bis earnings from gov- 
ernmental exactions and taxes, tbe facility of acquisition 
of land and property, tbe continually increasing demand 
for labor, skill, industry, tbese constitute tbe magical at- 
tractions exercised by America over tbe old world. From 
all regions of tbe old continent, as from so many buman 
rolling cataracts, partial currents separate, setting forward 
toward tbe West. Individuals, families, and it migbt be 
said, populations from wbole communes and districts wan- 
der in searcb of an amelioration wbicb Europe can in no 
way proffer or secure to tbem. Every race, nation, tribe, 
lineage, generation, every language and idiom, from tbe 
Soutb and tbe Nortb, from tbe East and tbe "West, sends 
fortb its sprouts, and tbe tbus etbnologically and geo- 
grapbically cbeckered Europe, becomes transferred to tbis 

Two currents, bowever, pre-eminently pour in large 
masses of immigrants, so as to absolve or render compara- 
tively insignificant tbe increase of population from otber 
nationalities. Ireland and Germany form tbe principal 
nurseries wbicb send bere tbe greatest mass of new-comers, 



out of whom are composed these cardinal foreign ele- 
ments, whose influence and weight must necessarily be felt 
on the psychological, social, political, and material devel- 
opment of America. 

Considered from the purely material standpoint, for- 
eign immigration supplies a want and a demand which 
never could have been satisfied by an ordinary increase of 
the original population since the constitution of the na- 
tion ; and without which the Union, under any circumstances, 
could never have reached so rapidly its present pros- 
perity and elevated position among the nations of the 
earth. The foreign influx fertilizes in various ways, and 
fosters the growth of America. Increase of population, 
increases production and consumption. Labor increases 
the general capital and wealth, to a hundredfold in this 
country ; labor, as represented in artisans, mechanics, 
operatives, daily laborers, workingmen, by whose hands 
railroads and channels, mills, furnaces, industrial estab- 
lishments are completed, cities erected, prairies broken, 
forests cleared. Whatever might be the unquestionable 
power and skill of the Americans, without the bulky sup- 
ply of hands coming from Europe, material impossibility, 
the want of sufficient labor would have prevented or de- 
layed the accomplishment of fhe industrial, commercial 
and agricultural wonders which amaze and perplex the 
old Europe. 

To obtain and secure the above-mentioned results, all 
the diversified imports of populations from Europe con- 
tribute variously and in proportion to their special num' 
bers, and mostly in harmony with their previous occupa- 
tions and vocations. Before, however, a complete amal- 
gamation of those elements with the intellectual and po- 
litical life of America can be thoroughly accomplished — 
an amalgamation only possible in a long process of time — 



these elements necessarily affect in various ways the func- 
tion of American institutions and of her internal, social, 
and political condition. 

The English and Scotch who come to this country, 
find themselves among homogeneous elements. United by 
blood, creed, language, understanding already the rudi- 
ments of liberty and its working on society and on the indi- 
vidual, they are normally prepared to learu and receive 
the higher degrees of initiation into the rights of social 
manhood. They do not generally occasion any confusion 
in the existing conditions, but fall in with ease into the 
great, social, developing movement. Not so the mass of 
Irish. Issuing from a state of barbarism, nay from that 
of savage brutism, in which twofold oppression and ty- 
ranny have kept them for long centuries, the mass of Irish 
immigrants is unable to acquire a perception and insight 
into the new, and for them unwonted and unthought of 
existence. Of course there are exceptions, numerous and 
highly honorable. Many Irishmen bring here cultivated 
minds, others, so to say, dissolve in the American life, 
abandon, at least to a great extent, the clannish connec- 
tion and discipline, and in various pursuits of life count 
among the best and most useful members of the commu- 
nity. But these exceptions — rather limited in proportion 
to the mass, do not change the nature, the character of the 
Irish immigration of these last twenty-five years. 

European history in its manifold compound of nations 
and states, does not know an Irish nation. The Irish 
never formed one. By no event, by no line are they re- 
corded as a state, in the general movement of post-Roman 
or Christian Europe. They never possessed any form of 
a judicious and independent civil government, never gave 
any such manifestation externally in contact or relations 
with other nations and states. All the criteria which 



constitute a nation, a political, intelligent, internally fruitful 
nationality, have never existed or come to light on that island. 
Neither are the Irish a fair sample of the mighty Celtic race. 
Accepting even in the fullest signification the theory of races, 
they may he compared to a powerful tree with a cluster of 
branches. Some of these branches bear fruits, some re- 
main unproductive, verdant to a certain degree, but never 
blossoming, and dying out fruitless. Such a branch are the 
Irish, in the historical development of the great Celtic stem. 
The Irish improve when denationalized psychologically 
and physiologically ; when brought into new social con- 
ditions, and crossed with other races. They alone among 
the whole Celtic race are intemperate. Intemperance, now 
almost innate to the Irish, might have been the result of de- 
grading oppression, and might have been to a certain degree 
a result of the contact, the intercourse with English and An- 
glo-Saxons, as intemperance forms a prominent character- 
istic of the German race, and was recorded by Tacitus, 
though so friendly to them. The bumper does not occupy 
such an eminent position in the heroic and chivalrous lays 
and legends of the various Celtic families, as it does among 
the German ones. The tyranny of the English conquer- 
ors, unparalleled in bistory, maintained for centuries by a 
heartless, despotic misrule, plunged the various populations 
and tribes of Ireland into a mire of social degradation. 
Generations after generations grow therein. Violence. and 
hatred, disorder and lawlessness have formed the only so- 
cial links and currents, surrounding and inspiring the 
Irishman from the cradle to the grave — becoming thus in- 
born to the people, they compose the salient features of 
the so-called Irish nationality. The feeblest sprouts of 
orderly self- consciousness seem to have been crushed out 
for a long ' time, if not for ever ; and social and political 
psychology often doubt the possibility of their recovery. 



No less destructive to the character and the faculties of 
the victimized Irish people at large, has been the influence of 
Romanism. The experience of ages, the lessons from history 
establish beyond dispute how Romanism, and above all since 
the reformation, when Jesuitism became its soul and its 
moulder, how Romanism has fatally affected and degraded 
the nations submitted to its sway. It is its character 
and nature to prevent the enlightenment of man in gen- 
eral, but above all to intercept the rays of light, and turn 
them from* the masses. Its enmity to reason is indisputa- 
ble and recorded by every country, on every page of the 
annals of human progress and development. In order to 
exist, to prevail and domineer, Romanism fosters and en- 
tertains the darkest and most degrading superstitions ; 
combats with all the weapons of passion and prejudice : 
self-consciousness, self-judgment, thought and mental 
emancipation, those primordial conditions of social and 
political liberty. If at times Romanism has seemed to 
support free, and even republican or democratic institu- 
tions, it is only when by their help it could rule supreme 
over society, and retain the people in mental stupor. On 
such conditions, Romanism once wandered hand in hand 
with some Italian republics, and in our days is an intimate 
ally of several Swiss cantons. But mental liberty and 
Romanism cannot live well together. So teaches its own 
history and that of human culture. Therein Romanism 
stands reeking with the gore of martyrs. It has cheer- 
fully consecrated all the murders and crimes perpetrated 
against those who have tried to emancipate man, who have 
denounced the allegiance to religious or civil tyranny. 
Never in any land has Romanism recognized the rights of 
a citizen, the rights of society, as at least equal to those 
of the Church, but has always contrived and still contrives 
to trample on, to subdue, to make them wholly subser- 



vient. When it could do it safely, Romanism has never 
hesitated even to destroy all other rights, for the sake of 
its own supremacy. The Romish surplice is not stained 
but dipped and kept in blood. Not in any single instance 
has Romanism disapproved the atrocities of the civil pow- 
er, when perpetrated against liberty. And hence for the 
sake of civil and religious oppression Rome, the hierarchy, 
the popes, bestowed their blessings on the exterminators 
of the Albigenses ; they kindled the fires of the inqui- 
sition ; they blessed the murders of St. Bartholomew's 
night, those committed in the Netherlands, in Germany, 
in England, in one word, in every nation of Europe, in 
every region of the globe. Romanism, when its conserva- 
tion is at stake, is meek only when it is wholly unable to 
shed blood or persecute. It is unchangeable, it cannot 
be modified and never was so in reality. As it has acted 
once, so it will and must act for ever ; not the will but 
the power is wanting now. Its cardinal rule is to save 
the souls in its own manner, and according to its peculiar 
comprehension, and for this salvation to tread down, to 
destroy family, society, freedom, consciousness in single 
individuals as well as in whole nations. 

The Irish are the fullest and ripest productions of Ro- 
manism, combined and harmonizing with their inborn char- 
acteristics. No other nation on the earth, neither the Ital- 
ians nor Spaniards equal the Irish in this respect. Roman- 
ism in Ireland took under its wing the nationality ; — it ap- 
propriated to herself all the powers of mind and soul, what- 
ever may have been possessed by the Irish tribes, and for 
centuries ruled them with limitless power and influence. 
The priestly training to which this people was submitted 
for generation after generation, and to which alone it was 
and is now tractable, extinguished- every aspiration after 
culture, brought it to hate and repudiate even the slight- 



est intercourse with the spirit of ages moving around 
them. The priests nursed bravely the sloth natural to a 
degraded people. There is little if any difference in the 
mental faculties and development between the Irish, as 
described by historians at the end of the sixteenth, sev- 
enteenth, eighteenth centuries, and those whom the last 
quarter of a century has poured on the American shores. 
In this element Romanism here finds its cardinal support, 
and through the Irish it eats its way into the heart of the 
American social and political institutions. 

Wherever Romanism gets a foothold, its tendencies 
and workings have been and are always identical. It is 
to envelope society in its anaconda-like folds, to subdue, to 
govern it surreptitiously, if it cannot do it openly. To- 
wards this aim it directs all its efforts, uses all influences, 
slow but unrelenting as time in its destructive action. Ro- 
manism in America remains true to its nature ; it is not 
different here from what it was always and every where. 
Romanism alone, of all European importations on the 
American continent, becomes not ennobled, ameliorated 
by transplantation. True it is, that the priesthood shows 
externally various signs of devotion to freedom, and to in- 
stitutions existing here ; but if such demonstrations may 
be sincere with some few, the whole hierarchy recurs to 
them as far as it is needed to influence and to delude pub- 
lic opinion, to seize and secure domination over a credu- 
lous and submissive flock. How is it possible to believe 
Romanism sincere in the love of freedom, self-conscious- 
ness, and independent judgment, all of which, united or 
separated, work the destruction of Romanism. It yields 
now to circumstances, watches them, and turns them to 
account with unflinching consistency. Romanism flirted 
with the French Republic in 1848, but it secured the 
election of Louis Napoleon ; applauded, consecrated the 



deed of the 2d December, and saluted in poniificalihus the 
Empire. When it cannot rule alone, Romanism sides al- 
ways with despots and absolutists. 

The pious tendency of Romanism, as avowed by its 
leaders and chiefs, is to R,omanize the population of Amer- 
ica; or, in other words, to subvert the corner-stones of 
the institutions, poison the life, and destroy the destinies 
of America ; in one word, to Irishize the Republic. The 
populations once become devotedly Romanist, the spiritual 
supremacy of the hierarchy and of its head, the pope, will 
become a fact firmly fixed in their creed, in their con- 
sciences. The philosophers and casuists of that sect have 
clearly and repeatedly established in theory, and as repeat- 
edly the popes have attempted to establish it as a fact, 
that as matter is submitted to the spirit, and the body to the 
soul, so temporalities are inferior to spiritualities. A 
power supreme, therefore, in the spiritual order, ipso facto 
is supreme in temporal or worldly afi"airs ; that is, in all 
matters concerning society, its government, its institutions. 
This deduction, logical in itself, is the credo of Romanism, 
a credo paramount to all the other confessions ; for it Ro- 
manism works, and to its realization it directs all its forces ; 
this is its beginning and the end of its spiritual and tem- 
poral life and activity. 

Rut self-government, reason, must then _ disappear be- 
fore the advent of Romish theocracy. In Europe, for 
centuries it has been checked by the equally ambitious and 
grasping royalty ; but here it avails itself of the principles 
of freedom, of the non-interference of government in reli- 
gious matters, of the latitude thus offered to its dark and 
tortuous under-dealings. It hopes and expects a final vic- 
tory. It is opposed here by the force of light and reason, 
by that of the beneficial example of advanced culture and 
emancipation. But powerful as are these divine agencies. 



no less powerful are those of the genius of evil, acting on 
deeply rooted prejudices, on bigotry, on mental obtuseness 
and degradation. The strife between the good and the 
evil principle is not new. It has been carried on under 
various manifestations, from the earliest existence of the 
human race. The force of truth — it is a gloomy avowal — 
often succumbs under the pressure of falsehood ; — other- 
wise progress would not be so difficult and slow. Un- 
doubtedly E-omanism cherishes the hope, by identifying it- 
self with republican self-governing institutions, and by di- 
recting them cunningly, to reconquer on the American 
soil what it has successively lost in Europe ; although it 
begins slowly to recover there from some stunning blows, 
and again restores intolerance, inquisition, persecutions. 
These dreams of supremacy once realized, Romanism be- 
lieves it to be as easy a task to erect scaffolds, to kindle 
pyres for religious -and political heretics, or throw them 
into dungeons in the name and with the co-operation of a 
Romanized, Irishized, and fanaticised people, as to do this 
in the name of a pope, a king, or an emperor. The spirit 
of intolerance moves uninterruptedly over Romanism its 
heavy and crushing wings. 

Doubtless all these aims, schemes, and efforts, of what- 
ever nature and character, are repulsive to the genuine 
American mind, to the heart and the understanding of 
populations nursed and bred by reason, freedom, and self- 
consciousness. Romanism therefore takes care to main- 
tain the compactness of the Irishry, to surround it with 
the opaque wall of prejudices, to preserve its power over 
them ; in one word, to have in hand a bigoted and devoted 
mass in the midst of the American population. Roman- 
ism watches over the Irish with the utmost care, and con- 
tinues the work of mental enslavement. The hatred stim- 
ulated in Ireland against the English oppressor, is turned 



and entertained here by the priesthood against the light 
of reason and self-judgment. Romanism steps between 
its Irish tools and the regenerating action of the social in- 
stitutions here. Romanism is the conductor through 
which they penetrate to the Irish, and they are thus ad- 
ministered in a wholly perverted and adulterated form. 
These immigrants, coming to a social state based on cul- 
ture and on emancipation of mind, remain nevertheless in 
the most absolute unconsciousness and dependency. Their 
political convictions are administered to them ready made, 
as faith and communion. Whatever might have been his 
original unfitness to comprehend the order into which he 
is transplanted, it might be hoped that the Irishman, sur- 
rounded by sound sense on all sides, would finally be 
enabled to comprehend and appreciate liberty, the condi- 
tions of self-government, the necessity of self-improvement. 
But all this reaches him through the priestly exegesis, 
and as much of it as is judged suitable by the exegete. 
He spares no sacrifice to raise and maintain between his 
tool and the American heretic, a line of hateful demarcation. 
For this, Romanism insists clamorously on the separation 
of public schools, that its pupils might not be contaminated, 
that is, enlightened, and thus the power of Romanism be 
undermined and destroyed. Even in many European 
states, such arrogant demands of the clergy, if made, are 
not conceded. The education of the people, one of the 
sublimest results of American social progress, as all other 
fruits of liberty, is to be desecrated by the hands of Ro- 
manism. These fruits are to become a dispensation, of 
which the priesthood are to be the dispensers. 

Socially and politically, the Irishry forms a state in 
the state, mostly impermeable to higher and civilizing in- 
fluences. It acts blindly under the orders and under the 
guidance of the clergy, without discernment, without appre- 



ciation, without comprehension of the rights acquired by 
the rehabilitation of the dignity of man. The Irishry thus 
becomes a cudgel in the hands of leaders and intriguers. 
True it is, that the discipline of political parties often re- 
duces to a nullity the will and self-choice of others, better 
prepared for political life. However, such a result is pre- 
ceded by public discussion, by which, after all, self-con- 
sciousness can be stirred up and maintain its rights. But 
no such influences act on those guided by the priesthood. 
All is mysterious and secret. They follow orders given 
as a case of conscience, and cannot safely swerve therefrom. 

The Irishman, on coming to America, finds already a 
bond in the common language, this powerful agency of assim- 
ilation. The process of his merging in the American life 
condition, and nationality, is therefore immensely facilitat- 
ed, and his human and political education ought to be easily 
accomplished. He ought to plunge into the new and pure 
current, wash away, dissolve, his inborn crudity and shift- 
lessness, and become born anew. This however is pre- 
vented, palsied by the religious prejudices which are kept 
alive by Romanism. On the other side, a no less mis- 
chievous action is exercised on the mass of the Irishry, 
by those of its representative men who act and write, ap- 
parently, independent of Romanism. Those Shans prey 
on the excited feelings, on the recollections of sufferings 
and outrages, wherein consists the Irish nationality. As 
if such or any other nationality could be transplanted into 
new and different conditions, as if it ought to be nursed, 
cherished, and sustained. The Irish, like all other immi- 
grants, ought to become Americans ; that is, enter a higher 
social state than that abandoned in the old world, adapt 
themselves to it, by divorcing from the past, its interests, 
hatreds, or even dear delusions. But the mass of tho 
Irish is maintained by its priesthoods, as by its Shans, in 



a constant state of irritation. For them their new coun- 
try is always in the second line behind the reminiscences 
of the Green Island. It would seem that, without being 
henceforth truly Irishmen, they unwillingly become Amer- 
icans. The exchange is, however, mostly advantageous to 
the new-comer. The mass of the Irishry bestow upon 
the society which receives them open-handed, drunkenness 
and ruffianism. The records of criminal cases, of assassina- 
tions, as well as of all kinds of offences, show that the great- 
est number in any American community is perpetrated by 
the Irish. The Irish prefer in general to hang around cities, 
to depend upon daily accidental earnings, rather than to 
scatter over the country, and turn to agriculture. In this 
way, they are individually more easily controlled by Ro- 
manism. In cities they form massy receptacles of igno- 
rance and crime, which overshadow better humane quali- 
ties. Priestly rule and English oppression, both have thus 
shaped out the Irish character. Such are now its promi- 
nent features. Those brought into a daily and manifold con- 
tact with the Hibernians, and with the colored population, 
pJmost unanimously give the palm for intelligence, honesty, 
cleanliness, aptitude to work, and good-breeding, to the 
colored people. And it ought to be considered, that the 
African ancestry of the American colored population was 
brought from the Western part of Africa, inhabited by 
tribes considered as the inferior strata in the black race. 

Such is the substance of one of the foreign elements 
which exercise already a powerful influence on the opera- 
tion of political institutions. It bands votes together, and 
throws them preponderatingly into one scale, thus falsify- 
ing the genuine manifestation of the sense of the really 
enlightened population. In the recent election of Presi- 
dent, the Irishry, its priests and Shans, sided with the 
propagators and apostles of slavery. As if they wished to 



stow their regret in being themselves disenthralled. Dis- 
secting the vote thrown for the two candidates throughout 
the whole Union, it will be found, that the really numerical 
majority of civilized, moral, and enlightened Americans, 
was on the side of freedom. Where the voice of reason 
reached the masses, the people answered to the caU. The 
Irishry, in immense throngs, threw its weight on the other 
side. It swelled the numbers, and constituted the ma- 
jority. With it coalesced what in sociological and philo- 
sophical appreciation forms the offal of cultivated societies ; 
as broken ambitions, financial oppressors and suckers of 
the people, monopolizing bankers, haters of liberty, jobbers 
in money or in convictions, pusillanimous pessimists, and, 
in one word, all those who, in all political conditions, in all 
states of society, in all epochs and governmental forms, 
constitute the most corrupt portion — constitute the bars 
and impediments to progress, who lower the moral and in- 
tellectual tone of large or small communities, whether re- 
publics or monarchies, aristocracies or democracies. 

Time, by its slow working, the irresistible action of 
social light and truth, may dissolve the coarse crust, stir 
up and evoke to germination the Irish mind, which is now, 
for all nobler and civilizing influences, in a state of torpor. 
But this process of dissolution, purification, and regenera- 
tion, is counteracted by a vigilant opponent, nestled in the 
interior, and watching over all the issues and communica- 
tions. As in the junction of two rivers, the waters of the 
one often preserve for a long space the turbid color of the 
muddy soils through which they have passed, so the Irish 
current discharging itself into America, shall long be dis- 
cernible by its impure exhalations. Nothing in the whole 
creation is more antagonistic, than Romanism and the lu- 
minous and sacred principles which constitute exclusively 
the fulness of the social life of America. Even liberty, all- 



healing and all-reinvigorating as she is, cannot regenerate 
at once; she recoils at first, impotent, from these Eomano- 
Hibernian minds. They are even still more blinded by 
her glare. So the full blaze of light, poured suddenly, 
destroys the visual organs of one from whom the scales 
have been torn away, so the best and most nutritious food 
must be scantily administered after protracted starvation. 

The immigrants to America are received without any 
restriction, with the most unparalleled social, political 
generosity. The whole sanctuary of institutions is thrown 
open, is accessible to them. The liberty of action, enjoy- 
ed without limit by the American, is conferred on the 
new-comer. His mental and social sores and ulcers are 
cared for, and this alike by the political institutions, and 
by private sacrifices. The humane establishments, public 
charities and private benevolence here surpass most of the 
like institutions in Europe. Those entertained by the 
States or by the communes are the result of the popular 
will, the people famish the means for their support; and 
by their side there exist innumerable charitable establish- 
ments, results of private munificence, care and devotion. 
This constitutes one of the loftiest and warmest features 
of American society. These charities grow out of inward 
generous impulses. All the social shadowings participate 
therein, the men furnish money and their time, the women 
of the wealthier classes their care, tutorship and instruc- 
tion, to the poor. The large cities, where pauperism and 
destitution are the most prevalent, go foremost with their 
devotion and example. All these establishments are prin- 
cipally beneficial to the foreign-born population, grown up as 
well as children, more in proportion than to those born on 
the ximerican soil 

Schools for tuition, and finally participation in politi- 
cal life, that is in the highest and most free development 


and exercise of individuality, with tlie above named hu- 
mane and charitable establishments, compose the boons 
that are proffered b;f Americans to the mass of foreign 
population that pours in among them. It was to have been 
expected that those new-comers would heartily accept the 
gifts, and apply themselves diligently to merge and fuse 
with the great national current. But the reverse takes 
place. They separate, and do their utmost to preserve 
and increase this separation. They enter into political 
activity, not as Americans, but under the name and watch- 
word of distinct nationalities, that are strange to the soiL 
This arrogant and offensive putting forth, provoked nat- 
urally a reaction in the feelings of the people. If this 
movement called the Know-Nothing or American party, 
with the aim of limiting the political rights of the new 
citizens, is considered as a monstrous excrescence in the 
free institutions ; in justice it must be said, that it results 
from the action from without, which, disordering the 
normal operation, evoked this violent erruption. The 
movement was originated not by theorists , and speculators, 
but among the people ; it is the expression of aversion to 
the doings of the banded nationalities and to religious in- 
tolerance, as well as of anxiety. The popular feeling was 
wounded. As the provocations from Romanism were 
more direct and immediate, the counteraction was origi- 
nally directed towards that. Then it increased in its 
proportions and overhauled the whole foreign element, 
menacing it in the enjoyment of political rights. In- 
triguers, schemers, seizing upon this movement, envenomed 
and perverted it ; but its logic remains intrinsically just. 
It is a violent attempt, perhaps, but nevertheless a saluta- 
ry one, to force the immigrants to merge and to become re- 
cast in the nationality which is readily and heartily opened 
to them, to put an end to the influence over them of Ro- 



manism, and of tlie spirit of petty, puny national seclu- 
sions. It is an attempt to prevent the American soil from 
being cut up and checkered according to idioms, consan- 
guinities and prejudices, as is the case for instance in Hun- 
gary ; it is an attempt to destroy one of the most danger- 
ous barriers to the general harmonious development and 
onward movement of the country. 

The originators of American independence threw the 
country open to all comers, without regard to the ori- 
gin of race, religion, or any such distinctions. They did 
not judge it necessary to throw impediments in the path 
of the immigrants. They themselves were not imbued 
with any prejudices of race or religion. Even Anglo-Sax- 
onism was unknown to them ; their large minds were not 
accessible to narrow limitations. And finally, they saw 
the necessity of increasing the population, as the only way 
to subdue the wilderness of the country. Man prospers 
and increases in numbers only in culture and civilization : 
animals, on the contrary, propagate and thrive in the sav- 
age wilderness. America wanted culture, wanted hands. 
Further, these immortal founders had one paramount 
creed— this was freedom and equality. They enthusiasti- 
cally believed in the miraculous power of principles, whose 
electric touch was at once to transform and assimilate the 
immigrants. They did not foresee that immigrations might 
acquire such gigantic proportions, that the unchecked cur- 
rent might carry and deposit on the American shores 
masses, overtaxing the normal and regular powers of ab- 
sorption by reason and light. They could not foresee that 
Romanism would ever try to raise menacingly its head, or 
what is still worse, to set busily at work to palsy and an- 
nul the beneficial action of American principles. They 
could still less foresee that the new-comers would attempt 
to form separate bodies and corporations — to form states in 



the great State under tlie plea of religions and nationali- 
ties. Tliey could not foresee tliat the school-house, con- 
sidered by them as the preeminent agency of fusion, and of 
moral improvement, would he avoided, prohibited on ac- 
count of dogmatic squabbles, or that the regular movement 
of institutions should become distorted by the deadly might 
of ignorance thrown therein by foreign-born populations. 

The recent American movement, however narrow and 
distorted it may be deemed ; when judged impartially, is 
less narrow and abnormal than the wilful seclusion and 
formation in separate bodies of the Romano-Hibernians, 
or of the G-erman nationalities or Landsmannschaften, 
amidst a powerful, flourishing, civilized and well-organized 
nation. This American movement is likewise more logi- 
cal and less narrow-minded than that called Anglo-Saxon, 
based upon imaginary physiological, innate predisposi- 
tions and distinctions, unsustained either by science or 
history. The former is a child of events and conjunc- 
tures. The Americans recognize, generally, that all races 
are adapted to liberty, but that they ought to pass through 
a preparatory apprenticeship, if they are not born on the 
American soil, that is, if they have not been nursed from 
the cradle by American principles, have not breathed the 
bracing air pregnant with them, nor been trained in liber- 
ty and self-government by daily intercourse and action. 
Anglo^Saxonism necessarily annuls the influence of educa- 
tion, example, principles, all of which are powerless to 
create the cranial bump in which is located the faculty for 
freedom and democracy. Whatever may be the ulterior 
results of the American movement, it has successfully pre- 
vented the separation of common public schools according 
to confessions, as was claimed by Ptomanism. Thus they 
have rendered a signal service to future generations, to 
the cause of freedom and reason, to the highest interests 



of the commonwealth, securing at least a part of the 
youthful mind from being delivered to the poisonous ac- 
tion of separatism. At the present moment, Romanism by 
its assumption and arrogance disturbs the harmony of 
several European countries, even absolutely Catholic ones. 
Wherever it can do so, Romanism attempts to get hold of 
public education. Belgium is at present agitated violently 
by the struggle between the encroaching Romanism and 
the spirit of liberty of instruction. Austria has delivered 
herself, hands and feet tied, to education by Romanism. 
Darkness is there as triumphant as it was before the re- 
forms introduced by Joseph II. Baden, Switzerland, are 
agitated violently by the aggressive spirit of the Roman- 
ist hierarchy, which tries likewise to create agitation in the 
Prussian provinces peopled by Catholics, as well as those 
on the banks of the Rhine and in the dukedom of Posen. 
In both these regions principally the nobility sustain Ro- 
manism in the attempt to seize the public education. For 
securing his presidential election in 1849, and for siding 
with him after the destruction of liberty in the night of 
the 2d December, Louis Napoleon remunerated Romanism 
by giving to it a preponderating influence over the public 
instruction, by allowing the establishment of schools whol- 
ly in the hands of priests and Jesuits. This was granted 
under the pretence of liberty of education invoked by Ro- 
manism. Now Louis Napoleon begins to be aware of the 
danger in having conceded so much, and thrown into the 
hands of the priests the education of the people. 

During fourteen centuries, Romanism almost exclu- 
sively, and since the Reformation, the other creeds and 
denominations have shared with Romanism the supreme 
direction of the Christian public education. If the past 
generations, or the present one are degraded, as the Ro- 
man priesthood, and the pious ministry of some other con- 


fessions assert, the fault is with the tutors. It proves that 
the confidence of the human race in the clergy of all 
faiths, as ministers of education, has not been justified, and 
that education is to he wholly transferred into other hands, 
that another spirit is to preside over it. This change the 
American people — religious as it is — have alone understood 
how to carry out. The clergy has not power to interfere 
with the public common schools. 

The restrictions on the time in which full citizenship 
is to be acquired, and with it the faculty of exercising po- 
litical rights, and of entering the public service, as claimed 
by the Americans, are already contained in the Constitu- 
tion. According to it, naturalization can be acquired 
only after a certain number (5) of years of sojourn and ap- 
prenticeship. The question started now relates to an ex- 
tension of the term. The greater or restricted facility 
for foreigners to become citizens or subjects, and public 
servants, of other states, vary in Europe mostly according 
to the nature and the form of governments. In the abso- 
lutist monarchies the facility is generally the greatest. 
The will of the sovereign admits at once a foreigner into 
the public service, and thus incorporates him among his 
subjects, his nation. Of old the admission by sovereigns 
of foreigners to elevated public and military offices was a 
usual and common occurrence. Many such foreign seek- 
ers of fortune served several courts, several governments 
in succession, and thus enjoyed privileges, rights and pre- 
rogatives, equal to those of all other subjects. It is the 
liberal governments that put various restrictions on the 
acquisition of citizenship, or on the ability to enter the 
public service. Such legal restrictions exist in England ; 
they were introduced in France after the great revolution. 
In Switzerland every legally and politically organized 
commune can confer the right of citizenship, admitting 



any one as its member. The same exists partially in 
Prussia, but the admission or naturalization tbus acquired 
must be confirmed by government, besides the sovereign 
having an unlimited right to naturalize or admit into the 
public service. 

The same policy prevailed in the ancient world. It 
was easier to become a Persian or Macedonian subject, 
with all the rights and privileges of official servitude, than 
to become a citizen of Athens, Thebes, Sparta, or of any 
free city of Grreece. Koman citizenship, originally was a 
boon acquired with difficulty ; and in the mediaeval free 
cities and republics, naturalization, that is the admission 
to the enjoyment of the full rights, privileges and immu- 
nities of liberty, was less easily acquired than from sove- 
reigns. Generally, free communities seem to have been 
more jealous in this respect, and to have maintained a de- 
fensive position against foreign-born comers. 

Next to Ireland, Grermany contributes most considera- 
bly to populate America. The Homanist part of this 
German influx, albeit in many respects, such as intelli- 
gence, skill, orderly habits, laboriousness, aptness to tu- 
ition, is superior to the bulk of the Irishry ; and equals it, 
with few exceptions, in bigotry, credulity, and submission 
to the priesthood. Still the majority of German settlers 
are akin to the natives in religious convictions. Some of 
them practically, others in general outlines and concep- 
tions, are already familiar with the partial rudiments of 
social liberty. Numbers likewise have been through a 
mental training, and their intelligence variously schooled, 
already in process of germination at home. The Germans 
bring into America not only rough labor, as do the Irish, 
but are skilful working-men, operatives, artisans and 
artists, intelligent and laborious agriculturists. As such 
they contribute eminently to break up and put into culture 


the virgin soil ; they contribute in various ways to the 
rapid increase of American prosperity. The internal 
trade as well as the foreign importing and exporting com- 
merce, is increased by German capital, laboriousness, ac- 
tivity and steadiness. Most of the maritime and commer- 
cial cities of America count numbers of Germans among 
their principal trading houses. In one word, in every 
practical pursuit the assiduous German industry is easily 
to be distinguished. 

Moreover, for the last ten years, the German immi- 
gration is, on the average, superior in mental and material 
quality to its predecessors. Formerly the great throng 
of immigrants consisted principally of the most mentally 
and physically impoverished portion of the population in 
Germany. The better ones among them, the apparently 
improved, were really as coarse as the others, and gener- 
ally unfit to truly appreciate the new conditions which 
they found here. For most of them these conditions were 
summed up in one, paramount to all others : that of making 
money rapidly and by all means. Of late years the Ger- 
man immigration has consisted of individuals often enjoy- 
ing a certain degree of prosperity in their humble spheres 
at home, as farmers, established artisans and mechanics, 
numbers of whom have come here supplied with moneyed 
capital, and thus at once in every respect augmenting the 
general wealth of America. Political revolutions, as well 
as a general dissatisfaction with the present state of their 
fatherland, and the despondency which grows out of it, has 
forced many and many to take up the wanderer's staff. 
Thus individuals and families have turned their steps 
towards this country, searching for the amelioration of 
their social, political and moral, more even than that of 
their material condition. In this manner numerous high- 
ly educated and enlightened Germans, thoroughly familiar 


with various scientific and practical pursuits, are scattered 
over the whole free area of the Union. These mental 
forces and resources are valuable acquisitions and gains 
for America ; in the course of time they will fertilize, fa- 
cilitate and aliment the avidity inborn to the Americans^ 
for enlightenment and information. 

If the Irish spade has contributed principally to cut 
canals and build up railroads, the G-erman plough, upturn- 
ing prairies, the German laborious husbandry, the German 
diversified and improved industry, and finally the German 
thorough and serious learning, and assiduous and studious 
habits, ought to contribute eminently to render the im- 
proved means of communication beneficial and profitable. 

The German, like every immigrant from the European 
continent landing on these shores, in the diff'erence of lan- 
guage meets at once the greatest impediment to assimilation. 
To a certain extent, therefore, he is forcibly reduced to an 
almost exclusive association with his compatriots. By 
natural attractions, the new-comers group together, and 
the groups increase in numbers and proportion. Those 
clubbing together form more and more compact masses, 
above all in large cities. The German life, in all classes, 
with its easy, simple, sociable, communicative habits and 
manners, has a charm of everlasting attraction, and the 
charm becomes stronger in a foreign land, amidst a society 
at the first sight rather formal, stifi", cold, and gloomy in 
all its manifestations. The mannerism prevailing here 
must appear somewhat unsociable to the simple-hearted 
Germans. It is therefore natural, that the German popu- 
lation should cherish these domestic habits, should live in 
them, and not be eager to exchange them for those which 
prevail around them. Thus the gap of separation becomes 
broader and broader. Besides, the Germans bring with 
them certain social and religious notions and conceptions, 



more elastic in some respects than those which are cher- 
ished by American minds, and are tenaciously attached 
to them. To such belong toleration, and even indiffer- 
ence in many religious performances, like the observa- 
tion of the Sabbath, which for the G-ermans, as for all Eu- 
ropeans, is a day of sociable and mirthful repose and inter- 

However, the restraint imposed by the so-called Amer- 
ican strict and religious observation of the Sabbath, may 
be, in principle, wholesome and necessary In a societ}'- 
organized on the principle of self-control and of self-gov- 
ernment, where preventive and repressive powers, external 
and governmental, do not really exist, but ought to be 
rooted in every individual, to be alive in his conscience ; 
such a society cannot too often be admonished, and have 
them refreshed in his mind and memory, of the social and 
moral purposes and duties of the civilized, onward striving 
man. The Sunday performances as observed in America^ 
may be considered therefore as constituting a mental dis- 
cipline, directed towards regulating and giving a sound 
and pure impulse to the actions, the convictions of the 
community. Individuals and families absorbed day after 
day by the hardening material pursuits of life, have often 
no time to gather up their consciences, to embrace in a 
general view the multifold combinations of moral and civil 
obligations to themselves, to their neighbors, to society. 
This is generally done on those religious Sabbath gather- 
ings ; and their influence must, after all, improve the peo- 
ple, and thus correct many shortcomings proceeding from 
an incomplete or adulterated mental culture. 

In these daily increasing German groups rather than 
communities, containing elements and resources of internal 
vitality, arose the tendency to preserve their distinct na- 
tionality, and to assert it. Such a feeling in a German 



can easily be understood. The German nationality has a 
completeness in its various domestic, social, and high men- 
tal developments, some of them of warm coloring, and of 
unsurpassed beauty. These hearty features in the do- 
mestic life are worthy of preservation. They become in- 
born to the German character. Not less easily is it to be 
understood, that the cultivated Germans in America should 
attempt not only to preserve, but to nurse and entertain 
in full blossom, a language — this cardinal national distinc- 
tion — whose variously developed literature, accumulated 
learning, and scientific treasures, form a fountain from 
which other nations draw deeply, and largely borrow. 
But nationality cannot prosper when transplanted to a new 
soil, in a society fully developed, and having its own 
powerful vitality. A German literature can no more 
sprout out here, than can a new, thoroughly German na- 
tion. Both can thrive only in the fullest independence ; 
they require free air and untrammelled space. A lan- 
guage, to leaf forth and flourish, must expand in all the 
directions of activity. It must be the language of public 
and political life, of laws, of general, and not only of do- 
mestic intercourse ; it must be the paramount instrumental- 
ity of mental culture. All these unavoidable and life- 
giving conditions cannot be enjoyed here by the German 
nationality, and by the German language. The Germans, 
pressed by the irresistible current of events, must adopt 
the language of the country to which they come ; and to 
participate in its development, they must master it men- 
tally and practically. They must adapt themselves, and 
merge in the powerful social current, and not square them- 
selves against it. Only the Germans are the losers by 
attempting to maintain, what in itself is not maintainable, 
what does not find any firm basis, what always must float 
on the surface, what must dwindle in itself ; in one word, 



a distinct nationality, a distinct language. In sucli a man- 
ner they may form puny confraternities, but never a na- 
tion. Thus, willingly secluding themselves, instead of 
coalescing with the native-born population, the Germans 
have not hitherto acquired the signification and influence 
which their mental culture ought to have secured to them, 
in the yeasty undulations of American intellectual and 
political life. In those arenas German names are unknown 
to x\merican scientific, literary, or political records. Few 
Germans are in a position to participate in the legislative 
bodies, even in States where the German populations are 
settled in large numbers ; not one is heard in the councils 
of the nation, where Frenchmen and Hebrews raise their 
voice. The Germans of Pennsylvania and Maryland, al- 
though for a century established there, have kept aloof from 
the national current ; nevertheless they have not preserved 
their own language, their nationality, but only a coarse 
compound of both. 

A mass of German intellect thrown on the American 
shores, during the last ten years, craves for congenial ac- 
tivity and occupation, and for means to utilize the stores 
of knowledge acquired by studies in their mother country, 
and increased by study and observation in their adopted 
one. Numbers of those highly cultivated individualities 
look to the press in their native tongue, as the medium 
of usefulness to themselves and to their compatriots. 
When such a press aims to explain and elucidate to those 
unacquainted with the English idiom, the institutions, the 
character, the cardinal conditions, of the nation and society 
in which they are to merge ; when this press does it without 
admixture of conceptions, notions, and appreciations, appli- 
cable to European conditions, almost virtually different 
from the American ones ; when it enlightens German 
readers about the difference of destructive European, and 



constructive, genuine American democra( y — not that 
sliam and nominal one — then the German press is of in- 
contestable utility. But the tenacious encouragement to 
uphold what is called a distinct Grerman nationality amidst 
the mighty and rapid growth of the American one, can 
never, and in nowise, prove beneficial to the German 

For all the above-mentioned reasons, separate German 
schools are not only unnecessary, but must prove injurious 
to the rising generation. Such schools can never be better 
than the American common public schools and establish- 
ments, and must contribute to strengthen and entertain 
the separation ; disabling rather than enabling the German 
youth to become, in the fullest comprehension, citizens of 
America. Separate German schools, and still worse, sepa- 
rate gymnasia or universities, would prove as mischievous 
as those claimed by Romanism on religious grounds. 
Both the one and the other stimulate estrangement and 
prejudices, and prevent the fusion of the various com- 
pounds, whose destiny is to melt and dissolve into one 
great harmonious nationality. Out of the fusion of various 
faculties, passions, feelings, intellectual powers and predis- 
positions, characteristics of mind and of soul, as well as of 
the combination of physiological difi"erences, completing 
each other, must necessarily be obtained a richer, fuller, 
and higher social as well as anthropological product. 

Of all nations, the Americans are the least exclusive, 
and the least antagonistic or refractory to a fusion with 
any other race, tribe, family, coming from Europe, settling 
and taking roots among them. There are comparatively 
more intermarriages between Americans and the Hebrews, 
than in any European country. Thus the native-born 
Americans show by long and daily practice, that not the 
law of an exclusive race, but the combination almost of 



all, is to regulate the occupancy, the future development 
of American destinies. The Americans, or if one will, the 
original English settlers, for centuries amalgamated with 
the Irish in large proportions ; the German influx, mixing, 
penetrating, spreading among the American population, 
will enrich these populations with various mental germs, 
add new and warming rays to their domestic hearth. 

The Grerman mind is of a depth and versatility unsur- 
passed by that of any other nation. Not a branch of hu- 
man knowledge and science, wherein the Germans have not 
been in the first line. Kepler was the forerunner of New- 
ton; Leibnitz his rival. The German erudition bears the 
palm above all others. The German metaphysics alone 
penetrate unknown spaces of mind, wherein the English 
or French mind shudders to follow. This does not pre- 
vent the German mind from ranking foremost to-day in 
all the branches of exact and natural sciences. Liebig, 
Muller, Ludwig, Gausz, the lately deceased mathemati- 
cian, Buch, Alexander v. Humboldt, Moleschott, and hosts 
of others, lead the van in astronomy, chemistry, physiol- 
ogy, and all the sciences. The German practical technical 
schools are the model to all others. German industry, 
artisans, mechanicians, vie with those of England. Fur- 
ther, the German mind is a mixture of deep earnestness 
hearty merriment, and of poetical aspirations; and the 
admixture of all these qualities will give a higher tone, a 
necessary and needed elasticity to America. None as the 
Germans understand how to intertwine the domestic, the 
family hearth, the daily tasks of domestic occupations, 
with cheerful, lovel}'^, poetical ingenuity. This artless im- 
pulse is inborn to them ; is not a painfully acquired taste. 
The German household deities will dispel the artificial 
shams and the stiffness that often darken the American 
roof, cheering it by simplicity. Tenderness of mind 



(gemutlichheifjy moderation, frugality, contempt for ex- 
ternal, empty show, are the graceful realities in the cor- 
tege of German family life ; — they smooth and facilitate 
sociable intercourse. Scrupulous exactness in the fulfil- 
ment of the task, distinguishes the Grerman mental or me- 
chanical laborer among those of all other nations. These 
and the like qualities, fused with others that are salient 
in the Americans, will enhance their value. That is what 
the German brings and exchanges for being taught how to 
exist free, self-conscious, self-governing, and self-improving. 

There are to be found among the mass of the Germans 
coarseness and brutality, drunkenness and lawlessness; 
but neither in such intensity, nor in such thoroughness, as 
among the Hibernians. And the Germans atone, by 
good, for those black stains which here and there darken 
their character. 

The Irish and the Germans, with the smaller affluents 
of the great Teutonic family, such as Swiss and Scandina- 
vians, spread over the land, and strike their roots in the 
bosom of the American people. They become its intrinsic 
compound, in larger and larger proportions. Psycho- 
logically therefore, as well as physiologically, they influ- 
ence the powers and the formation of a new population, 
above all in the W est, in whose morally and physically 
untrammelled spaces, the American historical and humani- 
tarian signification will become completed, the future 
elaborated and fulfilled. 





For past centuries and even now, Europe educates certain 
classes of society, rather than the masses of the people. 
America, which in reality has no classes — as all such dis- 
tinctions here are absolutely conventional, and thus abso- 
lutely fanciful and illogical — but a people — America in- 
augurated for the first time in the history of culture, a 
people educating itself. The educational system, its con- 
ception, tendency, agencies and execution in America and 
Europe are the most conspicuous features in the chain of 
superiorities and of differences between the new and the old 
continent and society. 

Nearly every European state has a different system of 
spreading a certain rudimentary instruction among the 
masses of the people. All of them differ in principle and 
in working, from what is done and carried out in the 
American free States. All of them have in view to pro- 
vide the people with limited elementary instruction, 
scarcely suf&cient for the practical, or rather the mechani- 
cal use of every-day life, rather than to stir up, to stimu- 
late the intellect, to develop and make it susceptible of a 
higher impulse. The tuition in the European primary 
schools, generally ends with teaching to read and write, and 
the first rules of arithmetic, but there does not exist, as 
in the American townships and villages, an uninterrupted 



and closely connected or ascending chain of general in- 
struction. Europe has cared little to possess enlightened 

When, after the terrible tempest which marked the 
commencement of the middle ages, some of the European 
nations began toilsomely to dispel the darkness which en- 
veloped them, the most rudimental instruction was lim- 
ited to a comparatively few. The difficulties to be over- 
come were numerous, and for various reasons instruc- 
tion was inaccessible to the mass, and thus limited to a 
class of the nation or of single communities. Public in- 
struction preserved for centuries this character of exclu- 
siveness or limitations, and even yet has not. wholly thrown 
it off. General and higher information or intellectual ed- 
ucation is still beyond the reach of the masses, even in 
states prominent for their educational establishments, as 
are Prussia and some other parts of Germany, Sweden, 
Belgium, Greece. Various reasons contribute to make 
the access to them difficult, if not wholly impossible. In 
old times the children of the lower classes, of the peas- 
antry and laborers, often only by accident received pri- 
mary instruction from a parish priest, or from a monk. 
And out of such accidents there emerged a Luther, a 
Keppler, and several of those names immortal in the rec- 
ords of human progress. But the mass remained in igno- 
rance. In modern times poverty, often indifference, pre- 
vents the immense majority of the lower classes in Eu- 
rope, from resorting to educational establishments, from 
which they are no longer excluded by social or political 

The cardinal hinderance, however, in Europe, proceeds 
from what so distinctly and in the original source and 
germ separates the two social organisms. In Europe the 
education of the people is the task of governments acting 


from above ; in America the people cares itself for it, and 
has the whole subject in its hands. The educational sys- 
tem in the American public common schools, is the high- 
est triumph of democracy and of self-government. The 
European nations expect every thing to be done by their 
governments, and are satisfied with crumbs thrown to 
them. The English nation, enjoying self-government in 
several minor combinations, does not understand how to 
derive therefrom this self-improving energy, so strongly in- 
born among the Americans, The English people has not 
raised itself to the elevated condition of bringing within 
the reach of the masses a thorough elementary education. 
If the English do not expect, as the nations of the conti- 
nent, to have the work done by the government, they look 
to the patronage, to the stimulus from the powerful and 
influential landed aristocracy, and as often to that of the 
church. The example of America stirs up England. 
Scotland, although covered with primary schools, has 
nothing which can compare with the common schools of 
this countr}^ All over Europe the tuition succeeding to 
the first rudiments, can only be acquired in superior 
schools, located in larger boroughs and cities, and supplied 
there by the government. Thus the access to them is al- 
most impossible to the children of poor laborers, of agri- 
culturists, to the immense majority of the peasantry. 
An American town or village corresponding to an Euro- 
pean borough, has several primary schools, and generally 
one of a second degree, and then a high school, within the 
reach of all the inhabitants of the township, where the 
children of both sexes can successively acquire a certain 
store of various general information, by which they can 
be fairly piloted through after life. Among the immense 
majority of the European masses, a kind of mental col- 
lapse follows the sparse instruction received in the village 



or some other primar}- school. The freeman of America, 
even in the most humble worldly condition, is accompa- 
nied generally through life by the thirst for spreading and 
increasing the information once acquired in the schools of 
his village or town. As the ancient mediaeval cities and 
boroughs were studded with turrets and gates, so the 
American town or village is surrounded with common 
school-houses, over which towers the high school, at the 
side of private establishments for education. For the 
same amount of population, the proportion between the 
facilities existing here for the use of the people, and a 
European country enjoying even the best educational sys- 
tem, can be fairly put as four to one. The inhabitants of 
the American township create, vote and pay their schools, 
and increase their number, when the European centraliza- 
tion — it can be said — only niggardly supplies the like 
wants of the people. An American community of twenty- 
five hundred or three thousand inhabitants spends cheer- 
fully three thousand dollars to pay the expenses, and the sal- 
ary of the teachers of its schools ; a corresponding sum is 
scarcely bestowed on the same object by a European govern- 
ment, in cities with from ten to fifteen thousand inhabitants. 
The school fund in the like American villages, absorbs 
about one-third of the communal taxes and expenditures, 
and this item leads the van in the communal budget ; in 
that of European governments it is generally at the end 
of all the others. Large cities here devote larger sums 
to educational purposes, than do whole provinces of the 
most civilized character in Europe. The whole money 
spent yearly for schools, academies, colleges in the United 
States will almost surpass what all the European govern- 
ments, put together, devote to the same object, the popula- 
tion of Europe being more than tenfold greater than that 
of the American Commonwealth. 



In Europe the village schoolmaster was of old, and is 
still to a great extent, the personified mental misery, ma- 
terial poverty, and often an object of ridicule. In France 
the position of schoolmasters is in every respect deplorable ; 
their dependence upon the government absolute. In Prus- 
sia and several parts of Germany, the situation of this 
most beneficial class of the community is comparatively 
ameliorated. Generally they go through certain studies, 
preparatory to a vocation, which is lasting during good be- 
havior and the will of the government. But nowhere in 
Europe, governed, directed, conducted with ribbons, does 
the woman present so generally the cheering sight of be- 
coming the first tender and devoted nurse of infantine in- 
tellect in the elementary common schools, as is the case in 
those of America. The like occurrences in Europe re- 
sult rather from accident, but are not a deliberate aim. 
Here the young woman prepares herself freely by study, 
to supply this demand, largely made on her by the com- 
munity. It is one of the noblest tasks of her social con- 
dition ; and thus the American woman, from among the 
humblest strata of the people, is one of the principal 
sources and agencies of the incontestable superiority in 
the intellectual development of the American over the 
European masses. For women and men this function 
forms mostly a transition to other social duties and pur- 
suits. Schoolmasters are among the most eminent men of 
America in the literary and in the political career. For the 
intelligent farmers, artisans, all kind of operatives, as well 
as for the wealthy merchant, the professional man, a female 
school teacher is often the most desirable wife. 

Fresh from schools and colleges, girls and young men 
devote the first years of their matured activity to teach 
in public common schools. They fulfil this task with the 
unshaken confidence of youth in its energies. Not yet 



withered by disappointments and mishaps, they generally 
for a time only, and thus cheerfully discharge this func- 
tion. By this — so to say, initiatory step — into the hard- 
ships of life, other broader prospects and expectations are 
not darkened or cut off, but on the contrary brighten and 
unfold. In Europe the village schoolmaster is either a 
poor weather-beaten and used-up wanderer through life, 
or as schoolmaster, excluded from all other prospects and 
hopes, he becomes a narrow-minded disciplinarian, going 
mechanically, without love or attraction, through a weary 

On the common schools, more than any other basis, 
depends and is fixed the future, the weal and the woo of 
American society, and they are the noblest and most lu- 
minous manifestations of the spirit, the will and the. tem- 
per of the genuine American communities and people. 
They are the results of its self-respect, of the comprehen- 
sion of its duties. The people feel that self-government 
cannot go on with ignorance ; that education is the granite 
rock on which reposes the political organization. Even 
children are aware and feel the vital necessity and influ- 
ence of knowledge ; that it opens and facilitates success 
in all pursuits and undertakings. Children and adults 
feel that to be well informed, is to fulfil a moral duty 
towards themselves and towards society. Information 
becomes to them as necessary as air and daily bread. This 
makes the people bestir themselves cheerfully and busily 
to procure and sustain the schools. Legislative bodies, as 
well as town and communal meetings, impose taxes on 
themselves unhesitatingly for educational purposes. The 
European masses have not a general thirst for knowledge, 
deprived as they still are by various reasons, of large and 
untrammelled openings and issues into the great current 
of life. They are not yet generally actuated by the con- 



sciousness and self-respect, resulting from political as well 
as from social liberty. Tliey have not the consciousness 
that the destinies, the prosperity of society, of the coun- 
try, the normal and orderly action of the governmental 
organism depends upon their mental elevation. In Eu- 
rope hitherto every thing, even the diffusion of knowledge, 
is comparatively circumscribed, centralized. Although 
most of the governments are aware that it is better and 
safer to rule and govern over the intelligent, than over the 
ignorant and brutes, they still labor under the misconcep- 
tion that the instruction of the masses, in order not to 
prove dangerous, requires to be limited. Their object is 
to form useful but ductile and obedient subjects, but not 
self-relying, independent men, investigating, judging and 
appreciating their rulers. Long protracted and various 
social, political and governmental depressions have re- 
sulted in the certain and almost chronic indifference of 
the masses to any instruction beyond the often coarse ru- 
diments of an elementary one. The best methods and 
systems will be inefficient until the spirit shall awaken and 
stimulate the man from within. Inward impulse secures 
better results than any governmental compulsion. What- 
ever grows by itself, by its own vitality, is generally 
healthier and stronger than what depends upon the exter- 
nal care of often strange and unfriendly coadjutors. 

Century after century has multiplied the various treas- 
ures of science, learning, and knowledge. But during 
ages of accumulation and transmission of all those mental 
riches, they did not produce anywhere in Europe a well- 
informed, mentally developed, intelligent people — except 
perhaps the Florentine democracy on the eve of its fall 
Notwithstanding the great beacons of knowledge and sci- 
ence illuminating ages and generations, notwithstanding 
the matchless universities, the numerous and well-orga- 



nized gymnasia, tlie limitless learning of numerous individ- 
uals in every State, in every nation, the masses of the pop- 
ulation have remained and remain still mostly in darkness 
and ignorance, even in the so-called most favored Euro- 
pean countries. Information is not domesticated among 

Europe possesses great savans in all branches, certain 
informed and polished social classes, but separated by a 
broad intellectual gap from the immense majority of the 
people. England, with her brutalized populations in the 
mining districts, with her ignorant small farmers, laborers, 
and working-men, does not distance continental Europe, 
but stands behind many parts of Prussia and Germany. 
America, fresh and new on this arena, cannot vie with 
Europe in the number or quality of those giants of science, 
learning and philosophy. America has not the facilities 
consisting in libraries, in higher establishments, in tra- 
ditional, uninterrupted transmission, and can admit with- 
out shame that it is thus outnumbered by the learned class 
in Europe. But in proportion to her population, America 
can with noble pride point out to the mass of well in- 
formed people, by far outnumbering any corresponding 
number in Europe. Numerous here are those dilettanti 
of knowledge, who, aside from the practical pursuits in 
industry, commerce, or any profession, follow some scien- 
tific and literary speciality, not sparing time and cost to 
satisfy quietly this intelligent attraction. Europe, how- 
ever thickly planted with cities, boroughs, villages, has the 
intellectual level of her populations far below that of the 
free America. If this country has no such eminences as 
Europe, her plains are not as low, dark and shallow. For 
example, five million Americans — the Slave States of 
course excepted — will be better informed, instructed, and 
behaved, than an equal number of Europeans from any 



country whatever. Europe, with all her cities, boroughs, 
palaces, castles, villas, has not such villages, and even log- 
houses, eagerly intercepting and harboring the rays of civ- 
ilization. Broad light or cheering dawn radiates over the 
American horizon; the several popular revolutions, reforms, 
as well as the tutelary^ paternal efforts of European 
governments, have not yet dispelled the thick and heavy 
mist enveloping the intellects of the European masses. 

Not those luminous representatives, rising as brilliant 
stars over the general darkness and ignorance, constitute 
the true glory of our race, or secure its happiness ; it shall 
then only become a reality, when all, even the humblest 
and smallest, shall bathe in light, and their mental stu- 
pidity or incapacity be relieved. When the masses, and 
not only minorities or few, shall reach a higher moral, 
mental, and scientific development, then alone progress 
shall become a social truth. Not single individualities, 
not minorities, are to ascend, but the greatest number. 
Excrescences, hump-backs, and monsters, form compara- 
tively rare occurrences in the realm of material creation ; 
care and culture can often rectify what accident, but not 
an absolute law, has vitiated. The same law of normal 
healthiness prevails in the mental and moral world. Germs 
of mental powers, the aptitude for their multifold develop- 
ment, growth, and scientific humane application and utili- 
zation, are inborn substantially with the generality of 
human beings ; in congenial conditions, those germs be- 
come the agencies, impulses, and lights of human actions. 
Whatever may be the assertions of moralists, philosophers, 
sociologists, and theologians, dividing the race religiously 
and socially into flocks and shepherds, establishing the ne- 
cessity of supreme, independent authorities, and demon- 
strating the utter incapacity of the masses to an enlight- 
ened spontaneity, and to an unconditional progress, iutellec- 



tual absolute inferiority, incapacity, and ignorance, are dis- 
eases, and, as such, an abnormal state ; and thus they are 
the condition only of a few ; at the utmost, of considerable 
minorities. It is not on account of any inborn inability, 
that the masses have been hitherto groping in the dark, 
and require tutorship and direction ; that they must be 
stirred up, incited, often dragged, to acquire knowledge; 
but the faulty social order generates stagnation, crushes 
out or checks the civilizatory spontaneity of the masses. 
By the action of this perverted order, numberless minds 
and intellects have been and are continually murdered ; 
and over the masses was pronounced a condemnatory ver- 
dict of imbecility. So it has been from of old, through cen- 
turies and generations. America made the first lift, the first 
efi'ort to restore to every individual the use of his mental 
faculties, bringing within his reach the fertilizing means 
of instruction. The spark latent in every human creature 
can thus enkindle, the dignity of humanity become re- 
deemed in the masses. The common schools are the noble 
initiators to this new and better era. Whatever may be 
the imperfections and hinderances in their action, those will 
be corrected or overcome ; but on the extension of such 
schools depend the true progress and the all-embracing civ- 
ilization of the people. 

The aim of the various degrees of common schools is 
to form enlightened members of the community, as well as 
skilful, well informed, practical artisans, operatives, me- 
chanics, agriculturists. In this view, instruction extending 
the horizon of thought, giving ballast to the mind, like 
ethics, history, literature, ought to go hand in hand with 
the teaching of all the branches of the exact and natural sci- 
ences ; on the knowledge of which eminently depends any 
success in the every-day undertakings, occupations, and 
pursuits of life. Those last branches seem hitherto to 



have been rather pushed into the background ; but their 
union with the former completes genuine civilization, fixes 
the material and social prosperity of the whole country. 
Every mechanical pursuit is a science in itself ; such a 
pursuit, to become really productive, ought to be carried 
out scientifically. Education ought therefore, at the start, 
to familiarize with the scientific elements, whose applica- 
tion and further development are to become the every 
day's task of life. What is done already in Europe on a 
small scale, must be enlarged, made truly popular in 
America. Germany possesses technical schools, wherein 
artisans and operatives receive the necessary instruction 
for their various callings. France has in Paris and other 
cities schools for artisans and trades. England, where th* 
true education of the masses is scarcely in an embryonic 
state, England has several schools for grown-up artisans 
and mechanics, where drawing and some other objects of 
immediate practical use are taught. But all that is done 
in Europe has the character of restriction ; accident brings 
the working-man into contact with localities possessing the 
like establishments. The American common-schools, those 
intellectual nurseries of the whole people, ought to bring 
to the home of each one, and within the range of all, every 
department of necessary and useful knowledge. 

New England was and is the centre, from which the 
common schools spread over the other parts of the country. 
New York, Ohio, vie to-day with her — so justly deserving 
the name of the brain of the Union. The younger Free 
States of the West, a political and intellectual progeny of 
the East, through common schools lay the corner-stones 
of their social structures ; — in the same way as the South- 
ern States base these structures on slavery. New England 
is the animating spirit of civilization, not only by her ex- 
ample ; but her children of both sexes spread as teachers ' 


over the whole area of the Union. If it is a business, a 
way of earning subsistencej it is the most useful and bene- 
ficial one for the American community at large. Those 
shoots of the Eastern, Northern, and Western Free States, 
penetrating into the South, and there establishing schools 
and classes, prevent the utter ruin and degradation of the 
white population. The intervention of these missionaries 
of knowledge arrests the Slaveholding South on the verge 
of an abyss; it prevents it from collapsing into the total igno- 
rance and barbarity, into which it is irrevocably dragged 
by the cherished institution. 

The common schools are the result, the creation of the 
democratic spirit of America, and therein is the source of 
^heir incontestable superiority over the European education- 
al establishments, which are consecrated-to what is called in 
Europe the common p'eople. But the superiority of the 
workings of the democratic spirit can be verified, even in 
America, by comparing the common schools with the su- 
perior colleges. These colleges were mostly founded 
during the colonial period, in strict imitation of the like 
establishments in the mother country. The common 
schools, on the other hand, originated in the wants and 
necessities felt by the people, are the creation of its will ; 
they are born and evolve from new and difi"erent events and 
conditions. Thus, while the higher establishments still 
preserve their original scholastic and English character, 
the common schools, a genuine domestic growth, are the 
product of American civilization. 

The colleges in America, being corporate bodies, and 
mostly sectarian institutions, are thus exposed in various 
ways to becoming narrow-minded and exclusive, as are 
almost always close societies, whatever be their character 
and name. Such associations easily become stiff'ened and 
retrograde, as their nature, like that of corporations, is 



rathei' to contract than to expand, their views often being 
governed by petty interests or individual animosities. 
Neither the sectarian spirit nor corporations can ever be 
equitable and all-embracing. Examples thereof abound in 
Europe as well as in America, in matters concerning know- 
ledge, sciences, ethics, politics, as well as other more prac- 
tical and daily purposes. Here, of late, the pressure of 
public opinion, the direct interference of the will of the 
people, have in many occurrences corrected the evil, have 
instilled a purer and more elastic spirit into the corporations, 
which direct and absolutely rule the colleges, corporations, 
which, contracted by dogmatic or political prejudices, do 
not give the necessary free scope to science, to investiga- 
tion, and judgment, and have often appointed professors, 
not on account of their scientific, but of dogmatic or partisan 
merits. Therein corporations rival often in illiberality 
the most absolutist and retrograde government in Eu- 
rope. It would therefore be desirable,, as being more 
in harmony with the broad foundations on which reposes 
the American civility, and with the object of truly popular 
civilization, that the colleges should recast, and come more 
directly and fully into communion with the needs of the 
people, and be more directly controlled by it. 

The Gi-ymnasia, and above all the universities of Eu- 
rope, although under the control of governments, are in 
many respects superior to the American colleges, which, 
like the European universities, are to bestow the final su- 
perior instruction. The American colleges can be only 
considered in general as a mediating degree to a higher 
universary instruction. They are scholastic in their meth- 
od, and lack the free spirit animating the Universities of 
Continental Europe. The European Universities, for cen- 
turies of their existence, were the foci in which new and 
large ideas in philosophy, science, even in religion, were 



elaborated. Thus centuries ago the University of Paris 
was the arena of the struggle between the nominalists 
and realists, a conception which, under various changes, 
modifications, and names, still divides the philosophic 
world. The Sorbonne of Paris systematized Roman- 
ism. The Italian, and the German Universities, cast into 
the world many luminous conceptions, gave many solu- 
tions, philosophical, learned, and scientific. The Ameri- 
can colleges, although possessing men of eminent learning 
and great mental accomplishments, have not exercised such 
an influence on the social or scientific progress of the coun- 
try, have not projected any striking light on philosophical, 
scientific, or social problems. In America, as in England, 
almost every great movement and progress has been accom- 
plished independent of the learned and collegiate corpora- 
tions. When aristocratical notions, when the division of 
society into classes, ruled with almost omnipotent sway over 
the European nations, the universities almost alone repre- 
sented and even practised the free and democratic idea. 
The American colleges, reverberating English immobility, 
have a tint of an aristocratical and exclusive, and often ar- 
rogant character. I do not affirm that the Universities of 
Europe always were liberal, or that they have not often 
shown a spirit of persecution. Unhappily their history 
proves that they at times have been animated by this hate- 
ful influence. They had their luminous and dark days, 
and those are on record. Thus, for example, the univer- 
sity of Tubingen, the greatest Protestant authority at the 
birth of the reformation, which for this reason ought to 
have been progressive in all scientific conceptions, that 
university protested against the system of Copernicus, as 
contradictory to biblical and classical authorities ; and the 
faculties of Tubingen persecuted Kepler with great ani- 
mosity, not because he practised astrology, but because he 



accepted and developed the Copernican system. Jenner 
and Fulton were likewise condemned Iby scientific corpo- 
rations, whose nature in general is clannish, attached to es- 
tablished systems, and averse to new, routine-breaking in- 
ventions and impulses. 

The American colleges attach, if not an exclusive, 
at any rate an overwhelming weight and significance 
to classical studies, as if the whole range of human culture 
were principally encompassed in ancient languages. They 
labor under the conviction that a dead language, to be ac- 
quired after much toil by study, nevertheless forms a bet- 
ter discipline of the mind than the vernacular one, in which 
the ideas are born and clothed, in which the intellect works 
and utters itself. The philosophical, scientific and social 
progress of our race is at present manifested and embodied 
in the modern languages; the most perfect classic scholar 
will be wholly ignorant where the world stands, in all 
that is useful, practical and moral, in his day. One of the 
results of this preponderance of classical studies is that 
the collegiate youth is more familiar with the facts^ — and 
not even with the true spirit — of the history of Greece and 
Rome, than with the literatare, with the political history, 
with the history of the culture and progress of European 
nations, with which that of America is more immediately 
connected, and from which it directly descends. Classical 
studies, and above all that of the Latin language, were 
paramount in Europe at a time when the Catholic Church 
adopting it was the paramount dispenser of knowledge ; it 
can be said that at that time the Latin was almost a living 
language, used not only in education, but in literature, 
in governmental judicial acts, and often in daily com- 
mon intercourse. Learning, education, were then al- 
most entirely restricted to a limited number, and formed 
a privilege of difi&cult access. The vernacular languages, 



in all scientific pursuits, were then in the state of infe- 
riority, were only dialects. All the conditions favorable 
to the supremacy of the Latin disappeared every where, 
and never were extended in America, who, herself the 
offspring of new ideas, in the highest education of her 
children ought to take a course more in harmony with the 
claims of the spirit of the age, with the social and practi- 
cal requirements of the people. The classical studies are 
to become accessory and ornamental, and the whole range 
of the modern civilization, with its languages, history, lit- 
eratures, exact and natural sciences, ought to form the 
basis of public education. 

European governments pay a due homage to the supe- 
riority of the democratic principle, as manifested in the 
common schools of America, and thus confirm their com- 
parative superiority over the various colleges. Several of 
these governments continually investigate and by every 
means apply themselves to gaining an acquaintance with the 
system, the method, and their so successful execution in 
the United States, They attempt to imitate ; but a dead 
skeleton in their hands without the animating spirit cannot 
give the same fruits as here. But no one of the European 
governments pays any attention to the organization of the 
American colleges. They know that they belong to the past 
— and of the past, Europe after all has the good and the 
evil, inferior, but likewise superior educational institutions. 

The new Free States in the West, erecting superior 
educational establishments, enlarge the conception, and 
are in a fair way to make these establishments truly popu- 
lar institutions. The new academies and colleges, as well 
as those erected of late in the State of New York, are 
created by the people, and not submitted to close corpora- 
tions. Although they retain some of the deficiencies of 
the old colleges, they in many respects approach nearer to 



the European tiniversities. The fresh and healthy spirit, 
independent of old routine, prevailing in general in these 
new States, makes it probable, that at no distant time the 
West may perfect these higher establishments, and make 
them correspond, as well to the democratic spirit and to 
the wants of the people at large, as do already the public 
common schools. 

Public lectures number among the agencies and means 
for nourishing intellectual activity, and diffusing various 
general knowledge. Cities, towns and villages thus enjoy 
a pastime, a mental recreation, both useful and laudable. 
One part of the population, prepared by former studies or 
readings, and having thus sharpened its intellectual ap- 
petite, is supplied through lectures with new facts and no- 
tions, and enabled to keep pace with the general run of 
events, with the literary and scientific evolutions, which 
they are prevented from following in any other way by 
the daily hard or assiduous occupations of life. To the 
wholly ignorant a lecture brings new food, opens a new 
world, often stirs up the mind, and awakens the inclination 
for information. From the oldest times public lectures 
were delivered in Greece and Kome, by philosophers and 
rhetors ; as they were also by professors of universities in 
the medi96val as well as in modern times. The professor, 
remunerated for other labors, generally offered one lec- 
ture gratuitously. The access to these somewhat excep- 
tional lectures, was in principle free to all, but the top- 
ics were rarely interesting or attractive for the mass of 
poor and ignorant people. Besides, such lectures were 
delivered in so-to-say secluded spots, generally in capitals, 
the larger cities, or in those possessing universities. It is 
only in America that, stimulated by the inborn craving in 
the Yankee for information, lectures have become a pop- 
ular institution, a social necessity, and a profession. 



Started up by the example of this country, England has 
extended the usage of lectures, known there long ago, but 
never used as a general popular measure. Now the nobles 
begin to lecture for their tenants. It is a step, but a re- 
stricted one. The spirit of aristocracy will exercise a 
censorship over the choice of the topics. It will be one 
of hon j)laisir, and very likely conservative of the rights 
of the better classes. The lecturing in America is carried 
out with a method and continuity evidencing that not an 
artificially created demand, but a vital necessity of the 
masses is to be satisfied. 

On the continent of Europe, popular lecturing is al- 
most unknown, and in the present mental and political 
condition of the masses, it is impossible. American lec- 
turing is the fruit of freedom, and its demand reveals the 
existence of a people prepared to hear, a people already 
enlightened. Uncontrolled freedom like that exercised 
and enjoyed here is nowhere to be found on the conti- 
nent. Here the people, its sense or taste, public opinion, 
control the lecturer ; in Europe for such an exercise gov- 
ernmental authorization is imperatively required. The few 
scientific, practical lectures delivered in large cities for 
the use of operatives, are made mostly by the provision 
of government, without having the character of popular 
measures. The millions and millions of inhabitants of the 
smaller cities, towns and villages, have never brought 
within their reach this mode of instructive entertainment. 
And in truth these masses are still kept in such ignorance, 
so uneducated, that lectures would be for them neither at- 
tractive nor profitable. The European governments know 
too well, that the only welcome lecturer to the masses of 
cities, as well as of the country, would be the men who 
might speak to them of their wrongs, injustices, and various 
social, governmental, and administrative oppressions and 



exactions. On such topics, and on tlie means to get rid 
of the evil, or to have it at least corrected, the European 
masses crave to be enlightened. Their immediate inter- 
est bears on their immediate sufferings. Literary, artisti- 
cal, scientific, encyclopoedical disquisitions, so acceptable 
and beneficial here, a brief analysis of passions, characters, 
men, things, of social and governmental problems, — this 
average of sound nourishment sucked in from lectures by 
the American country people, would be neither understood 
nor wished for by the mass of the people of any European 

Lecturing in America has become a trade, a business 
more or less profitable, according to the capacity of the 
lecturer, his literary, scintific or political notoriety, ac- 
cording often to the excitement and even the infatuation 
of the moment. In the immense extension which lectur- 
ing has now acquired, much abuse can exist, much com- 
mon-place may be enlarged, diluted, and thus served out 
to the often too confiding public. But even the poorest 
lecturer throws into the mind some incentives, obliges his 
hearers to exercise the power of thinking and judging. 
He evokes inward doubt, criticism, and thus often the 
wish to become better informed. It is always an intelli- 
gent occupation to listen to a lecture, to concentrate 
attention on even a seemingly if not really serious object ; 
and every friend of progress ought to wish that the Euro- 
pean populations might reach such a degree of mental de- 
velopment, that even mediocre lectures might be attrac- 
tive and profitable to them. 

Libraries, public and private, the diffusion and use of 
books of every kind, facilitate the mental progress of the 
people at large, supply its intellectual cravings, and com- 
plete the democratic education, which con'stitutes the supe- 



riority of free, self-improving, self-relying America, over 
the states that are submerged in European authority. 

The accumulation made through centuries by govern- 
ment, disposing of large means, has formed in the European 
world those great depositories of the productivity of the 
human mind, with which the American public libraries of 
course cannot compare. In this country the beginning 
was small, and comparatively recent ; but the extension 
of libraries keeps pace with the rapid increase of general 
prosperity. Private munificence or associations originally 
founded the public libraries here. The various colleges, 
endowed in this way with libraries, or increasing them by 
their own means, or by public subscriptions, although un- 
able to rival the libraries possessed by the European uni- 
versities, evidence the early and earnest solicitude of a 
society and of individuals depending upon themselves, to 
provide the community with means of education. Now, 
in many States, the legislatures, those organs of a self-gov 
erning people, extend their support to existing libraries, and 
create new ones, principally in view of the normal educa- 
tion of the masses. The public common schools posses? 
libraries, and their stock increases yearly, by the care of 
the popular government, by the care of the communes. In 
this way millions of books are put at the disposal of the 
masses in the Free States. School-books embracing vari- 
ous subjects of instruction are the most numerous products 
of American typographical industry. None of the villages, 
and not many towns and boroughs in Europe possess public 
school libraries, they have no such fountains for the supply 
of their intellectual wants. Neither the care of govern- 
ments, nor private solicitude, extends to that branch of the 
difi"usion of knowledge. Where such resources exist they 
are neglected and considered as the last of all the neces- 
sary provisions. In the Free States, some few of the more 



recent ones excepted, in New England, New York, Ohio, 
and all the older States, there is scarcely a farm, or even 
a log-house, without hooks ; nothing but the utmost pov- 
erty prevents a family from surrounding itself with these 
household goods, well used and highly valued, and almost 
wholly unknown to the millions and millions of European 
rustics, operatives and working-men. In this respect, not 
any European country, not even G-ermany or Prussia, can 
compare with the Free States of the Union. The Slave 
States in this as in all other points of civilization, carefully 
and proudly nurse their utter inferiority. This use of 
books by the masses explains, aside from the extension of 
the press, the consumption of paper, yearly surpassing in 
America that of France and England put together. 

Private collections of books are more numerous 
and more extended among the population of the Union, 
than is the case comparatively in Europe. In every Eu- 
ropean country can be found larger and more complete 
libraries, owned by certain individuals in aristocratic cas- 
tles and palaces, by rich parvenus, and a few others, than 
among private persons in America, but these special, 
individual collections are surrounded by millions of men 
uneducated, unlettered. The diffusion of books among 
the American people constitutes one of these rare occur- 
rences in the comparison of the two worlds, where there is 
less show and more reality on this side than in many other 
conventional terms of comparison. Where the genuine 
democratic spirit is at work, there no shams are possible.* 

* Among the private libraries in America, the one collected with 
the most masterly choice is that of the Rev. Theodore Parker, in 
Boston. Without having large sums at his disposal, Mr. Parker is 
always in advance of every public library in America, he is the first to 
enjoy the last sterling publications concerning history, philosophy, 
theology, that are issued in Germany, England or France. Each 



If higlier scholarsliip, exquisite finish and refinement 
in arts, scientific supremacy, have hitherto been the in- 
contestable patrimony of Europe ; all this is chiefly con- 
centrated in a comparatively few bright eminences. 
America has enkindled light on the plains where undulate 
.the great and real waves of mankind. Europe has polish- 
ed classes ; learned societies ; but with less preponderating 
individual learning, America, the Free States — stimu- 
lated, led on by New England, by. Massachusetts — they 
alone possess intelligent, educated masses. 

work in his collection reveals the earnest, studious and progressive 
mind, — holding communion with the most luminous, learned and ad- 
vanced spirits of his epoch. 





The independent press is the high pontiff of our epoch. 
Light and freedom are the elements of its life, of its func- 
tion. The press, in its true and normal comprehension, is 
to become more and more emphatically the most sponta- 
neous utterance of the human spirit, with its manifold 
thoughts, impressions, feelings, faculties and passions. In 
the press re-echo the most delicate, energetic and subtle 
powers of our minds, and its destiny is to warm and en- 
lighten, to radiate in all directions and to penetrate into 
the most secret recesses. The more society shall free it- 
self from prejudices and from deference to the so-called, 
time-honored, various authorities, the more must grow and 
expand the influence of the press, entering and transfixing 
all the social crevices and fibres. The mission of the press 
is to be the chivalry of the age. She is to dissol ve pre- 
judices, disentangle the truth, elucidate if not solve daily 
social, political and administrative problems, defend the 
oppressed, the poor, bring to daylight abuses, discuss with 
conscientious independence the acts, not only of those to 
whom society in any way or manner intrusts the regula- 
tion of its afiairs, but even of private individuals when 
their actions bear upon the community. On account of 



the daily increasing power of the press, it is her sacred 
duty to keep always elevated before the public a higher 
standard of morality, and direct towards it the public 
opinion. It is her function to remind men of rights, to 
keep communities in the path of duty, and unflinchingly 
adhere to what she recognizes as true and elevated. 
The press may err, but her errors are pardonable when 
they originate in a mistaken judgment, and not in a pre- 
meditated treason to her own convictions and faith. 

The growing influence and power of the press are pro- 
portional to the increase of freedom and civilization among 
nations. This is an indisputable fact, and many are the 
reasons which account for it. The press is the most rapid 
way of initiation to life, to its exigencies, causalities, ac- 
tivity, to its daily occurring phenomena. It is accepted, 
valued and submitted to as a spiritual chain of daily com- 
munion between personally unknown but mentally united, 
associated individuals and numbers, and gives them the 
security not to stand alone, to have convictions shared, to 
be linked with many in tendencies, aims, purposes. So the 
press serves as a sign of mutual recognition for those who 
are separated by space, even by time. Freedom and pub- 
licity are the cardinal conditions of a higher development 
of the individual, of society, of communities. The sunlike 
publicity and expansion of the press, constitute and ex- 
plain one of the reasons of its power. 

Every new idea, notion, opinion, fact, moral or mate- 
rial conception brought forward, inaugurated in the world 
to assert its existence, has used the means of publicity, 
extant at the time of its appearance. The word spoken 
by the prophets and masters, by philosophers, and even by 
bards, by apostles and other teachers, was the most imme- 
diate and direct way of bringing forth and difi'using among 
men the fruits and results of mental activity. The printed 



word stepped in and became the channel and agency of 
teachings, communications and discussions. Books, pam- 
phlets then became the most appropriate modes of publi- 
city and mental intercourse. Finally, in most such cases 
the press becomes the vigorous, rapid organ, inherits and 
extends the activity of its forerunners. Nowadays, re- 
ligion and science, ethics and politics, all the useful inno- 
vations and inventions in the realm of mind or of matter, 
in one word, the whole productivity of the human spirit 
gravitates towards the press, and searches for an opening 
in its issues. There the various oscillations, darings and 
hesitations of the human mind become easily and broadly 
reflected. The progress of the press is therefore marked 
by the slow but uninterrupted mastery over all the other 
means and ways of communication and publicity. The 
press welcomes every idea, every utterance and conception, 
nurses them carefully, tenderly, preserves them from death 
and destruction, introduces them into the world, prepares 
the ways and facilitates their reception. The press con- 
tinues and in most cases completes the education of the 
masses. It is the oil which sustains the flame. Its prov- 
idence-like vigilance wins the confidence of those who by 
their daily pursuits, or by the tendency of their minds, are 
prevented from watching over their own and the common 
destinies and wants. Towards her therefore turn opinions 
for steady direction and for enlightenment. Man in gen- 
eral dislikes to submit to being admonished, directed, or 
sermonized by special individuals, or at least to avow such 
positive submission to any one, be it ruler, priest, moralist, 
or any other adviser that ma;y be singled out. In the mo- 
ment of her action the press is a moral, impersonal agency, 
acting on the reason of each individual, and thus finds an 
easier access to the public mind. The well-advised submits 
almost unconsciously to her suggestions. Every body is 



aware that behind a newspaper there is one or several in- 
dividuals, whose opinions or judgment the paper repre- 
sents. But as their communications reach the public in 
writing, the reader forgets the individual behind his rea- 
sonings and his article becomes more easily accessible and 
impressive : he matures and deliberates more independently 
on what is suggested, or what is acceptable to his individu- 
ality and reason, than could generally be the case in oral, 
personal explanations. The more energetic and rich is the 
spontaneity of a press, the stronger and more deeply pene- 
trating her influence. When she understands her true 
dignity and influence, tlie press is the most independent 
among the now existing social powers. It can be said that, 
like nature, the press is to be henceforth eternally creative 
and productive. She initiates, evokes to life the activity 
of all, aids discoveries, popularizes them ; she presents 
the arena on which ideas and conceptions become purified • 
where opinions, convictions meet and clash against each 
other ; and where the only forces and weapons to be used 
ought to be information, mastership of subjects, compre- 
hensiveness, logic and dialectics. The one who commands 
such allies is sure to overpower his antagonist, however 
animated and protracted may be the struggle. Few who 
stand without the arena of the press, are aware how 
much conscientious study, investigation and thought are 
often devoted to its productions. Ideas, conceptions, rich, 
useful and advanced, lie entombed, scarcely appreciated 
beyond the moment of their perusal, often misunderstood 
and not appreciated, without even a grateful reminiscence 
from those benefited b}" them. Often numerous sparks of 
genius are thrown out and scattered, stirring up, illumina- 
ting others ; each of which, if carefully amplified and ex- 
tended, could alone suffice to secure the celebrity of a name. 
The press is one of the youngest powers and compo- 


nents of society. Its significance extends more rapidly 
than that of all its predecessors, and hence the press has 
its enemies, detractors, and traducers. Its lot in this 
respect is in common with all the other social phenom- 
ena, and with all new inventions, which in the suc- 
cession of time have appeared, dispossessed, or weakened 
the powers firmly established, and for longer or shorter 
periods ruling without contest over the whole, or a part 
of society. Every new phenomenon, as an idea or as 
a fact, is necessarily in strife with the past, which pro- 
claims the menacing new comer to he mischievous, de- 
structive, and subversive. Often eminent, generous, and 
partly, at least, progressive minds, with difficulty accept 
a new creation, which disturbs their repose, their precon- 
ceived ideas, and forces on them a change of judgment, 
a modification in their appreciation of ideas, in the com- 
prehension of existing and acting agencies. The history 
of human events, of human culture and progress, is a con- 
tinual record of such changes, evoking opposition ; men 
in the aggregate, as well as single individuals, reluctantly 
submit to changes. Thus for example, Erasmus while 
applauding Luther, was still devoted to the party which 
was assailed by that audacious reformer. The assaults, 
the discredit which the champions of the past, of its secret 
proceedings, of the darkness, sheltering abuses and igno- 
rance, attempt to throw on the press recoil and vanish, 
and even the most inveterate enemies recognize and sub- 
mit to its increasing, all-embracing, and wholesome action- 
The press is resisted, outraged, vilified or undervalued by 
those only, who shrink from light, who prefer benumbing 
cold to the intellectual warmth which daily expanded by 
the press. Her power grows in proportion to the difficulties 
nnd impediments thrown in her way. Militant against 
abuses, often against the shrivelling and rotten past, the 



true condition of the press is to be tlie beacon for the 
present, the harbinger of the future. She becomes daily 
more and more the compass, as well as the expression of 
the moral tone of society, and is so even in the apprecia- 
tion of her enemies, of tyrants, absolutists, conspirers 
against justice, reason and progress ; all of whom hate 
but bow to her, and according to the old saying, odit dum 
metuit. Thus her supremacy daily becomes a reality ; and 
shaking all other powers and influences, she will soon 
stand paramount to all, crushing out her most fierce an- 

This formidable lever and social ferment becomes of 
beneficial or evil boding, according as it is wielded by pure 
or impure minds. The press is like a two-edged sword, 
cutting out abuses, or inflicting poisonous wounds. Like 
almost every thing in the mental and in the material 
world, the press has thus a twofold character, and os- 
cillates between good and evil. It can therefore have 
and often has a demoniac, degrading or destructive in- 
fluence. But publicity and freedom carry within them- 
selves a cure, and in normal conditions of society, when 
violence and reckless passions do not darken the minds, do 
not pervert public opinion, when the press stands face to 
face with free communities, the bad and impure one will 
be shortlived, will find no support, and die in its own 

America is at present the only country where the press 
now exists in partially normal conditions, where it is a 
truly social and popular institution. In Europe the press 
is not a necessity of life for the great masses ; it does not 
reach them. The press is fettered by the government — 
or deliberately fetters itself, being devoted to the interest 
of a certain class, and embracing the real interests of the 
people only in generalities. Switzerland, Belgium, Hoi- 

• THE PRESS. 315 

land, Piedmont, Norway, Sweden, scarcely constitute ex- 
ceptions to this general rule. These countries enjoy a 
liberty of the press such as is not conceded to the other 
continental nations ; larger than in Prussia, Saxony, and 
other German states. They make great improvements 
likewise in their common schools, thus advancing the ed- 
ucation of the genuine people. Cheering as is such a 
progress, it does not however influence directly the great 
bulk of the masses on the continent. The progress and im- 
provement effected in those smaller states, may be compared 
to one accomplished on the extremities, when at the same 
time the trunk is itself not affected thereby. This trunk 
is formed by the populations of France and Grermany, add- 
ing to it Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the Austrian pos- 
sessions. Exclusive of Kussia and of Turkey, the conti- 
nental population of Europe amounts to more than one 
hundred and sixty millions. Scarcely one fifth of this 
number enjoys a more or less free press, and still smaller is 
the proportion of the continental population which consid- 
ers a free press as a vital necessity of existence. A gen- 
uine, free and independent press must have to deal with a 
free and enlightened people. To that the press is to look 
for intellectual and material appreciation and support. 
There must be a reciprocal action between the people and 
the press. One of the principal material conditions of 
the existence and the extension of the press is cheapness. 
It must be accessible without inconvenience to the small- 
est means. Not the specific quality, the conventional 
standing of fhe readers, but the quantity of sober, labo- 
rious masses constitutes the true public and the true value 
of a press. Not a lump of gold thrown by a government, 
by a class, or by few individuals into the conscience of the 
writer, constitutes the true prosperity of the press, but the 
small change flowing uninterruptedly over its counter. 



A cheap and independent press is a recent experiment in 
England, not very likely to succeed at the outset, for the 
want of people or masses prepared to need it and to sup- 
port it, as is the case in America. As for the continent 
of Europe, above all in France and Germany, a genuine 
popular cheap press cannot exist, for various reasons al- 
ready pointed out. 

The American journalist must strike a cord vibrating 
freely and powerfully in the masses ; he must carry away 
his public ; he must either find access to the popular 
mind, insinuate himself honestly into it, or overpower 
the public by his superiority. There must exist a mental 
attraction between the two ; the press must inspire, awake, 
incite, push onward the mass, but it must likewise in a 
certain manner harmonize with the moral and social ten- 
dency of the people, which otherwise would abandon re- 
pulsive advisers. The cheapness of the press, and the 
large number of readers give the assurance of always 
finding a public, and also that even the dimmest shad- 
owing and mark of opinion will be uttered, elucidated 
with the utmost independence. All these reciprocal con- 
ditions for the existence of a' press equal to her mission, 
can be found only among intelligent masses, among a peo- 
ple in the full meaning of the word. And such a people 
hitherto exists nowhere in Europe, or if it exists it is in 
such small proportions that those data disappear in the 
general appreciation. Even in England the press has 
been to the most recent epoch a luxury not within the 
reach, not within the appetite of the people at large ; not 
an attraction for it. In England — as is the case with the 
so-called independent press in some states of the conti- 
nent — almost the whole press is in the hands of cliques, 
using it for certain direct purposes. Thus it becomes the 
organ of these individual aims and schemes, and the, what 



are called in Europe, better classes, forming almost exclu- 
sively the clientage of the press, are after all commonly 
led astray. But the independence, the vast number of 
newspapers, the competition, the watchfulness over each 
other, the aggregate of various opinions re-echoed in the 
press, all these combined conditions result in elucida- 
ting all questions from all possible sides, in bringing all 
the facts in their true light to the knowledge of the pub- 
lic ; and further, in facilitating to any one with a little 
assiduity, an acquaintance with the state of public opin- 
ion on general or special objects and occurrences. In 
England with the freedom of the press, but without 
a people educated and prepared for its enjoyment, not 
possessing numerous country papers, supported and used 
by the masses ; a skilful or bold writer, himself a toady 
or the tool of a clique, or of a man, deludes or bewilders 
the people, twists reason, facts and logic to serve his. own 
purposes or those of his employers. The schemes of these 
men are represented as truth. Besides, the majority of 
the English press addresses itself to classes, but seldom, 
very seldom to the people itself, as the only national ele- 
ment. The English press mentions the name of the peo- 
ple, to be sure, but speaks of it only in generalities, not 
in that broad and direct sense, as is the case in America. 
Whole districts, communities and townships in England, 
as well as on the continent, exist without having any 
newspaper, any organ of publicity. Therein England is 
under the influence of centralization, as are the other Eu- 
ropean states. Almost every township and more populous 
village in the free States of the Union has its organs, 
whose circulation is independent, and does not interfere 
with that of those larger papers published in the capitals 
of States, or in the larger cities. 
. The American does not limit himself to reading one 



paper, to knowiDg only one side of an opinion, or of a ques- 
tion, but generally tries to acquire many-sided informa- 
tion. In Europe the partial public reading the papers, is 
mostly satisiSed with the organ of its party ; listens to one 
bell, and follows blindly its directions or insinuations. 
For an American, rich and poor, the press is the salt of 
his existence ; the European laboring man is generally 
indilferent or wholly unacquainted with this intellectual 
condiment. The American people at large shows a de- 
gree of mental fitness, superior to the immense majority 
of their European kindred, in supporting and thus in se- 
curing the existence of an independent press ; and in jus- 
tice the inferiority of Europeans in that respect corres- 
ponds to the inferiority of their social condition and insti- 
tutions, to the all-withering influence of governments, of 
whatever name and nature ; to the still preponderating di- 
vision into higher, aristocratical, burgher, and lower classes, 
of which the superior and directing classes are averse to 
this most nourishing fruit of reason and liberty. The 
genuine American people, the intelligent, working masses, 
require in the press a strong mental food, and they are 
able to digest it. The people likes an open, unhesitating, 
plain enunciation of principles and of appreciation. It 
demands from the press an onward impulse, aside from the 
discussion of daily occurrences. If the self-styled better 
classes in America, the men of narrow minds and large 
fortunes, shrink occasionally from a press like this, the 
true people, the people at large, support more heartily 
that paper which has the strongest and purest mettle. 

The concentration of power, of intelligence, of wealth, 
the central action of government, the gathering to the cen- 
tre of social classes, and of interests general and private, 
constitute the great preponderance, the paramount influ- 
ence of the European capitalists over the country in polit- 



ical, social, conventional, as well as in real interests, in 
customs, manners, and all the innumerable relations of the 
kind. In America the great and most generally felt in- 
fluence of the city of New York, that commercial empori- 
um of the new world, emanates and spreads over all the 
Union, from the independent newspapers published in the 
metropolis. This influence reaches villages, and the most 
distant log-houses, and penetrates to the minds and con- 
victions of millions, more directly and more thoroughly 
than that of any other social or monetary power in 

Such a press — unhappily for the European masses, but 
happily for their rulers — such an independent press does 
not yet constitute the daily mental nourishment of the 
European millions. Europe being in a state of continued 
open or subdued ebullitions, the press often loses its ener- 
gy and elasticity, in attempts to conciliate antagonisms, or 
to compromise principles. This kind of press is the only 
one acceptable to liberal European governments, but such 
a press is always in a false position, is always subdued in 
its tone, and lame in its movements. It is even repulsive 
to the people at large, which by the agency of such a 
press does not acquire the taste for public organs, and 
is not interested in their prosperity. Even the most free 
European countries, as Sweden, Norway, Piedmont, Hol- 
land, Belgium, Switzerland, have not reached the elevated 
degree of culture that causes their people to consider the 
press, the newspaper, as indispensable to their daily exist- 
ence. As observed already, local papers in the villages and 
boroughs of England, France and Germany do not exist, 
and those received from other quarters are a luxury re- 
served for the few, but without any attraction for the 
many. Nowadays, when new communes are established 
on the virgin soil of America, the printing office of a local 



paper rises as soon, or even sooner, tlian the school-house^ 
The settler, that pioneer of civilization and culture, after 
his daily hard struggles and labor, looks to the press, to 
the public organ, foT relish, for encouragement, and for 
cheering consolation. 

The indestructible vitality of the press is evidenced 
in Europe by the fact, that with all the restrictions, im- 
pediments, thrown in her way, notwithstanding the bit- 
ter and unrelenting hostility with which she is surrounded, 
she nowadays can no more be destroyed, as a social ab- 
stract principle, or as a positive fact, than could be de- 
stroyed the creative power of nature. Even the fiercest des- 
pots are obliged to keep her alive^ often to appeal to her ; 
they chain and muzzle, but cannot wholly suppress and 
strangle her. It is beyond human power to arrest its action, 
and the most powerful in Europe, Czars, Popes, Emperors, 
Kings, Aristocrats, and all other social compounds or im- 
purities, dread her attacks. No one is so high as not to 
be sensitive to even her feeblest pulsations. Only those 
who are wholly insignificant mentally and socially, afi'ect 
to mask their dulness by a so-called contempt for the ver- 
dicts of an independent press. 

The American press — excepting that portion of it 
which is polluted by slavery, and that other portion which 
arrays itself wilfully in its defence, and fights its battles 
in the area of freedom, — the American press, in its pro- 
ductivity and circulation unrivalled by European coun- 
tries, reflects all the degrees of social and mental progress 
spread and elaborated by the population. Some of its 
branches and shoots may be less energetic, less keen and 
clear-sighted, command a less extensive information, 
knowledge and scholarship ; but by far the immense ma- 
jority exercise a wholesome influence. By far the immense 



majority answer to the mission of public organs in the 
wider or circumscribed circles of their activity. In gene- 
ral, these organs and flambeaus, lighting the march of the 
people, according to their individual comprehensions, make 
efforts to point out the right way, to direct towards a 
higher moral and social goal. Considering the number of 
papers published in the United States, considering the 
absence of any restraint, the various countless interests, 
great and small, passions, excitements, irascibilities, and 
wranglings ; the American press nevertheless redeems and 
dispels all the slanders directed by retrograde spirits 
against the, according to their assertions, irremediable 
abuse, licentiousness, and immorality of a press wholly 
free, and established for the exclusive use of the masses. 
In the position reached to-day in America and in Europe, 
most of the papers of this country, in truthfulness, purity 
of convictions and honesty, can fairly compare with their 
European kindred, to whom, by the combination of vari- 
ous governmental and social relations, scrupulous honesty, 
independence and truthfulness become often almost im- 

The ulterior destiny and significance of a free, enlight- 
ened and independent press, is intimately interwoven with 
the progressive moralization of society. The press is to 
become the paramount umpire, to prevent civil and un- 
just foreign wars, pacify irritations, suppress abuses, make 
them recede, and to a great extent disappear before the 
ever-pouring light of publicity. No question can be so 
complicated and explosive as not to become disentangled, 
mollified, in the free unprejudiced handling of it by the 
press. The envenomed question of slavery never could 
have reached such a degree of unscrupulousness, if the 
South had possessed a free press, if every opinion disa- 



greeing with slavery had not been suppressed, menaced 
with murder, by the violent and lawless pro-slavery parti- 
sans. The time may come, when society in both hemis- 
pheres, and even in its actual phases of development, 
will accept the press as the sole omnipotent authority. 





Religious liberty, the absolute separation of Cburch and 
State, has become realized in America far beyond tbe con- 
ception, and still more the execution, of a similar separa- 
tion in any European Protestant country. This separation, 
and the political equality of all creeds, constitute one of 
the cardinal and salient traits of the American community. 
The equality of creeds in principle and in application, is 
not limited to the various Christian sects and confessions 
swarming over the Union ; but partially in the sentiments 
of the people, as well in the spirit as the letter of the po- 
litical institutions, it extends to other creeds. The Jewish 
confession, as in England and several European countries, 
does not disable its members from the enjoyment of any 
political rights ; and there is no word in the constitution, 
by which any other worship, even a heathen one, could be 
legally proscribed. Not in indifference to religious con- 
victions originated this religious liberty, but in the finally 
well understood and well applied principle of the freedom 
and equality of moral as well as of political rights. 

Pteligious freedom and independence were almost para- 
mount to all other aims and objects, which were had in 
view by the primitve emigrants to America. Puritans, 



Huguenots, Irish Presbyterians, Quakers, came here with 
the purpose of establishing and enjoying the freedom of 
religious convictions. Thus this principle from the start 
was one of the cardinal germs and principal corner-stones 
of American civility. Intolerance, persecution, stained, 
however, even here the first pages of the Puritanic estab- 
lishment. It was the momentary victory of the dark 
spirit of the past, overpowering at times the bright corus- 
cations of truth. But bigoted ferocity finally yielded be- 
fore the light of reason, before the vital and all-absorbing 
force of principles. 

With the freedom of conscience, the pulpit constituted 
in the American social birth and growth, one of the most 
active and powerful moral and social elements and agen- 
cies. In the formation of nations and states, the germs, of 
whatever character and nature, that are once laid down at 
the foundations of society, and forming the source^s of its fur^ 
ther development, preserve their vitality. They, penetrate 
deeply, act and influence powerfully, the moral or the po- 
litical unfolding and march. History is full of evidences 
of such vitality. The pulpit, therefore, which in the 
American primitive formation was such a cardinal and 
efficient element, of the same character as was the author- 
ity of a legislator, of a hero, a king, a caste, in the forma- 
tion of ancient society or of European nations ; the pulpit 
preserves here naturally and logically its uninterrupted 
action and influence upon the religious and the social man, 
both as a member of a religious communion, and as a citizen. 

Eeligious influence has always made itself sensible, 
and mostly with great effect, in human affairs. It is a 
predisposition, a natural bent of the human mind, of hu- 
man feelings. It is a positive, irrefutable, historical as 
well as psychological fact. Hierophants, high-pries fcs, 
augurs, Brahmas, and uncounted other names, repre- 



senting this religious element in the formation of societies, 
evidence — it may be even for our times — its still unavoid- 
able necessity. Any one, even half-way familiar with his- 
tory, knows to what extent the three greatest historical 
nations of antiquity, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, have 
been religious ; and what a preponderating influence wor- 
ship exercised in their political, domestic, and national life. 
Among the principal reasons of the condemnation of Soc- 
rates by the Athenians, was his real or supposed disregard 
of gods. Even St. Simonism, this most powerful new 
social conception for the remodelling of society, and whose 
axioms and ideas, thrown into European culture, fer- 
ment therein more vigorously than those of other socialist 
doctrines, most of which have been engrafted on St. Si- 
monism, this St. Simonism, albeit accused of materialism, 
asserts the religious idea to be the most elastic and dura- 
ble social cement. The American populations, the de- 
scendants of the various primitive settlers, as well as the 
more recent immigrants, all are still eminently and in ma- 
jorities, under the influence of religious ideas and feelings. 

In the American community, the pulpit is an undeniable 
social element ; it has grown with the community, it is a 
part of its free life, more so than in any European nation ; 
it has participated in all the social or rather political trans- 
mutations and transitions. As the Church is wholly sepa- 
rated from any interference of the State, and its whole 
administrative organization is in the hands of the people, 
, the pulpit belongs to the primordial manifestations of the 
self-government of the people. In the enjoyment of the 
plenitude of its right, the people by its choice, or by its 
deliberate, self-decided submission to the influence of the 
pulpit, authorizes its influence, authorizes its tendency to 
harmonize the inward with the outward man, to bring into 
union the worldly political acts and laws with the inward 



conceptions and aspirations of men's better moral na- 

"Wliatever may be the individual opinions or compre- 
hensions about the value and the interference of the pulpit 
in human affairs, the American pulpit is firmly rooted 
in the public life, is one of its freely, publicly, and inde- 
pendently operating vital agencies ; and for the most part, 
it is a civilizing and moralizing one. The American pul- 
pit, on the average, remains not behind, but progresses 
with the epoch. It throws often new and fresh light on 
questions of the moment, as well as on those penetrating 
deeply and lastingly into the destiny and development of 
the community. It seizes and considers often such ques- 
tions boldly, going to the bottom, pointing to the substance 
of their signification, showing their immediate bearing on 
the conscience and on the religious feelings of man. The 
open intervention of the pulpit in problems concerning the 
social, internal questions of a country, questions on which 
depends the peace, the moral progress of men — as bad and 
immoral laws form immoral men ; — this intervention, rooted 
from the start in the American social formation, is at least 
as logical and natural as the generally commended inter- 
vention of the clergy and of the pulpit against a foreign in- 
vader or enemy. And often the danger for the moral 
man — this principal object of the solicitude of the pulpit — 
is more imminent and destructive from foul internal le- 
gislation, or from a defective civil or political condition, 
than from external invasion. 

In an absolutely free country, as is America, all the hu- 
man potencies are called to act, and, binding with each other, 
to contribute to the progress of the individual, of the com- 
munity ; the pulpit, as an open manifestation of such a po- 
tency, as the expression of higher aspirations, has a duty and 
a right to perform, in uttering its opinion or its advice, on 



concerns where the social dignity and worth of man and of 
communities are at stake. For a sincerely religious man, 
enjoying his full and independent powers and activity, the 
supreme or divine precepts believed by him, ought to direct 
his public and civil actions towards the goal of higher mo- 
rality ; and the pulpit, as constituted and developed in the 
American social relations, and in the spirit of truly under- 
stood Christianity, is or ought to be one of the most 
watchful sentinels and finger-posts towards social ameliora- 
tion. But such a character and such an influence can only 
be recognized and used by the pulpit in a social state, and 
in a condition of perfect liberty and equality, where violent 
passions, egotism, individual interest, do not pervert and 
corrupt minds and convictions ; where society exists and 
moves in normal conditions, or at least approaches near 
them. These conditions, for various reasons, do not exist 
in the political and social state of Europe : many and mul- 
tifold are the sources of this dissimilarity, and paramount 
to them all is the union or the mutual independence es- 
tablished for so many centuries between the churches of 
various denominations and the State, nearly in all coun» 
tries and nations, a relation becoming thus inborn, inherent, 
chronic to European social organization. Social and po- 
litical revolutions bear therefore in Europe equally on 
Churches as on States or governments to whom the 
Churches are wedded. When restorations of ancient abu- 
ses — called the ancient order of things — take place, among 
the restored objects counts always the power of the Church, 
be it a Romanist or a Protestant, and the one generally not 
less obnoxious than the other. The pulpit in Europe can- 
not acquire this free, independent expansion, and the civil 
significance that is possessed by the American pulpit, born 
and nursed among new events and conjunctures. Nearly 
all the European churches, confessions, pulpits, and confes- 



sionals, in Protestant or Romanist nations, are interested 
in the worldly powers, side for or against the special gov- 
ernments, according to their special relations with them, 
be those governments absolute, constitutional, or repub- 
lican. So it is in France, as in England, in Grermany, 
Prussia, Holland, as in Austria, in autocratic Russia, or 
in of late democratized Switzerland, where, as for example 
in the Cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Neufchatel, and others, 
numbers of the protestant clergy took a stand against the 
new governments, established in 1848 by the people on the 
ruins of the ancient privileged burghers, patricians, and 
various puny local oligarchies. The American clergy 
and pulpit is not linked with a past, as no such one ex- 
ists for American society, or at least not one inimical to 
progress. The American clergy or pulpit has not linked 
its destinies with castes, governments, and power-holders, 
nor has it ever been — in the Free States — their servant or 
accomplice. It has nothing to dread from new ideas, or 
even from new social transformations. It can therefore 
freely discuss the principles on which society reposes, 
without falling under the reproach of submissiveness, ego- 
tism, or servility. 

The average of those devoted to the pulpit in various 
confessions, represents comparatively the greatest mass of 
learning, scholarship, and diversified information in Amer- 
ica. The Unitarian confession, although the smallest nu- 
merically, possesses the most elastic and all-embracing 
minds. The various American theologians, if generally 
not equal to the great giants of theological dogmatism and 
criticism in Germany, can nevertheless compare with 
them favorably ; and, for the variety of their literary at- 
tainments and productivity, they surpass the mass of the 
clergy of any European country. They are studious, la- 
borious ; and depending for support upon their parishion- 



ers, tliey are their pride, and must endeavor to maintain 
their conspicuous mental standing, in order to answer tlieir 
expectations, or else a successful competitor may conciliate 
the favor of the religious congregation. Living and de- 
pending on a community among which is spread a certain 
degree of general culture, the pastor naturally attempts 
not only not to remain behind its average, but to preserve 
a certain superiority in harmony with his leading position. 
Most of these incentives do not exist in Europe, where the 
favor of government is to be courted, or where the commu- 
nities in the country are generally less advanced and less 
interested in the various — even in what is called superfi- 
cial or encyclopedical — activity and manifestations of the 
human mind. The political development and progressive 
amelioration of society in its legislative concerns, is of 
equal interest for the American clergyman, with theologi- 
cal, dogmatical niceties ; he observes them with care and 
devotion. He does not wish to hinder and encumber the 
social progress, but to preserve to it — what he believes to 
be — a Christian character. 

Men originally prepared for the pulpit, after having 
abandoned the theological vocation, are found in various 
mental, literary, and political functions, among the most 
eminent on the American horizon ; as, for example, the 
highly accomplished scholar, the elegant and truly Amer- 
ican orator, and at times the sagacious statesman, Edward 
Everett, Bancroft, the historian. Sparks, the indefatigable 
compilator and writer of American historical documents, 
and independent philosophical minds, as that of Ripley, 
of Emerson, of James, the brilliant rhetorician, and many 
others. A transition from theological studies, from the 
pulpit to other worldly pursuits, to political life, is easier 
generally in America than it is anywhere in Europe. 

The Ivomauist clergy, numerous in America, and in 



its immense majority composed of Irish, does not consti- 
tute in the average, an aggregate of superiority in variety 
of information and mental culture, as is the case with other 
confessions. Some prominent individuals scattered among 
the mass do not change the general character of inferiority. 
Many are the reasons which account for this. Romanism, 
and principally its clergy, all over Europe, is inferior in 
all the branches of human learning and science to the ag- 
gregate of various learning, mastered by its philosophical 
or doctrinal opponents, and generally possessed by the 
laity. For the last few centuries, and above all, as now 
reduced to the defensive, clerical Romanism has lost vi- 
tality, productivity, expansion and elasticity. Before the 
Reformation its power was rarely if at all questioned, it 
ruled nearly paramount in the domain of mind. It was 
then for the most part friendly to sciences and scholar- 
ship, as the danger from knowledge was not thus imminent 
and immediate. Romanism partly preserved this elasti- 
city even in the first ten years of the Reformation, then not 
yet conscious of its future civilizing power. Thus, for ex- 
ample, the system of Copernicus was originally better 
treated by Catholics than by Protestants. The inquisition, 
the Popes, began to condemn it when they found that this 
would suit their policy, when they saw the danger of any 
innovation. About the time when Galileo was shut up 
in dungeons — but uttered his celebrated e pur'' si muove 
— an Augustine monk, Didacus Stunica, in Spain, writing 
commentaries on the book of J ob, declared the Copernican 
system to be the only true one. In the 15th, 16th, and 
even in the beginning of the 17th century, there was 
hardly, besides the court of Rome, any other spot in the 
world that could exhibit such manifold efforts in literature 
and art, so much racy intellectual impulse and enjoyment, 
and an existence so much engaging the yarious powers of 



the mind. Now, neither the court of Rome nor its cleri- 
cal legions extended over Europe, are in the first ranks 
of the intellectual, scientific, and learned world. The Amer- 
ican catholic clergy shares the common fate, but in a larger 
degree, and is inferior to its European confraternity. 
The greatest number of them seem rather indiff"erent to 
enlightening themselves, or to lessening the ignorance of 
their rude flocks. It seems to be of small or secondary 
interest to them to have enlightened congregations. They 
aim rather at preserving and nursing the mental stupidity 
for the greater glory of Rome and for their own security. 
Some do this it may be said innocently, not aware of a 
better aim, but the hierarchy has fixed and well defined 
purposes. The hierarchy wants among its ordained oflB.- 
cials, as well as among the flocks, submission, willing and 
pliant tools, and not self-conscious individualities. The 
means of education for the Romanist clergy are inferior in 
every respect to the like establishments in Europe. The 
very insufficient diocesan seminaries are generally directed 
by Jesuits. The history of this militant, aggressive order, 
so unrelenting in the prosecution of power, shows that one 
of the cardinal objects in education is to prepare and drill 
the mind to an absolute dependence, to crush out, extin- 
guish any spark of self-judgment, not only in the laity but 
likewise in the clergy, and above all in the secular clergy. 
In this spirit is directed the public education in the jesuit- 
ical establishments, as well as in the seminaries. The 
pupils of each must be so shaped out as to remain for life 
unshaken in their faith in the supremacy of the fathers. 
A secular priest, who after all is to be let loose into the 
world, entering a community breathing self-consciousness, 
self-reliance, where the power of reason is recognized as 
paramount; such a priest, thrown among such tempta- 
tions, must be penetrated through and through with the 



conviction of his inferiority, that he inust always seek and 
cling to the decision of his tutors and masters, that he 
must remain for ever a tool, unaware of his individuality. 
He must never be able to appeal to his own reason, 
judgment, and mental initiative. So his general informa- 
tion is limited, mangled, defective. He is inspired and 
wholly schooled to be distrustful of the light of his own 
reason, as well as to suspect learning and knowledge when 
illuminated or vivified by it. He, as well as the flocks con- 
fided to his care, must never discover that reason and mind 
alone constitute the difference between man and brute ; 
that if there is any truth in the supposed or admitted 
likeness between the Creator and the creature, this likeness 
is absolutely spiritual, based on the faculty of reason. 
The priest and the flock must never discover that reason 
and mind are the highest gifts, and that faith at the best 
is only the corollary of a mind actuated by reason. 

The Komanist clergy is unrelenting in its activity — 
rather a mechanical one — under the direction of the hier- 
archy, under the inspiration of the Jesuits. Some halo of 
devotion and self-sacrifice surrounded and embellished 
years ago the labors and life of the secular Romanist cler- 
gy. They shared the poverty, the gross abjectness, of 
their parishioners, and still, in many instances, their mate- 
rial destitution equals the mental one. With the material 
progress and conditional prosperity of the Komanist pop- 
ulation, a sensible amelioration has taken place in the 
worldly situation of its clergy ; but the mental emancipa- 
tion of flocks and shepherds is for a long time out of the 





The genuine American mind is tlie sum of various com- 
ponents, intuitive as well as objective in their source, and 
in their operations. Various inward and external combi- 
nations, events and conjunctures, have added to the En- 
glish substratum, new, diversified, spiritual, and so to say, 
corporeal terms and substances. In its present stage of 
development, this alloy reveals an inward struggle between 
the substratum and the affluxes. This progress of elfer- 
vescence, and the consequent internal and external phe- 
nomena, taken in general outlines, constitute the dissimi- 
larity of the American mind, from the special char- 
acteristics of the mind of each European nation. The 
contending forces in the American mind manifest them- 
selves in various ways, and in efforts for asserting individ- 
uality, originality, and an independent mode of perception. 
Nevertheless the substratum maintains its ground, yielding 
slowly and stubbornly to the pressure of the elements 
which accumulate upon it. In the oscillations produced 
by this struggle, originate those contrasts which mark 
more or less distinctly the intellectual manifestations. 

The American mind tends pre-eminently towards the 
objective, at times however being given to the subjective, 
even to abstract speculation. It is singularly impulsive 
and receptive, seizes eagerly upon the most antagonistic 



objects, and embraces them with considerable elasticity. 
Expansive, and at times daring, it is less disciplined and 
subdued by routine, than is the case with the English mind. 
Hitherto the American mind has not reached the elevated 
stand-point of an absolute, intuitive individuality. Stim- 
ulated by the fulness and vigor of intuitiveness, but open 
to the breathing influences of outward nature, to the ever 
freshly pouring combinations of events, the mind ascends 
slowly, step by step, into the expanding region of normal 
self-consciousness. It is inquisitive, analytic, dismember- 
ing, and still eager often to discover, to comprehend a 
general law, to accept general formulas and axioms, and to 
submit to them. It grapples willingly with difficulties, but 
is not however always enduring or patient enough to 
overcome and subdue them, above all when the difficulties 
are founded in merely abstract, speculative combinations. 
Evoked to self-conscious activity, the American mind was 
thrown at the start into a stern and rough medium, and 
cut off from the motherland ; it was obliged to direct all 
its intensity to struggles with nature, with destructive mat- 
ter, was forced to choose and decide swiftly, to act, and 
not to remain in musing contemplation. 

Immediate practical results are more attractive for the 
American mind, although not exclusively, than the charms 
of imagination. In its intellectual, positive turn, it yields 
easily to the pressure of outward events and combinations. 
Intellect finds more food, more stimulus, in externalities, 
and therefore it overpowers the spirit, the imagination, as 
well as the tendency to abstract, interior contemplation. 
Of great mobility, expansive but not deep, the American 
mind as yet seems unable to seize thoroughly and pene- 
trate deeply into the infinity of intuitive ideas, engrossed 
as it has hitherto been by sensations. The social condi- 
tion, the primitive state of nature, opening uninterruptedly 



ter wider and wider circles before the Americans, chal- 
lenge and attract the intellectual powers, carry away the 
activity into one general, explorative, mechanical, com- 
mercial current. But then even, a certain inborn elastici- 
ty redeems and saves it from utter degradation. And so, 
notwithstanding this seemingly all-absorbing commercial 
propensity, the mind of the people at large does not be- 
come eaten up or narrowed, as is the case, for example, 
with the immense majority of the various commercial 
classes in Europe. The so-called petty shopkeeper spirit 
does not prevail in America to the same extent as in most 
of the European parent countries. 

Excitability, omnipotent in the American character, 
scarcely affects the activity of mind. The keen internal 
perception of the object strongly resists excitability or 
nervousness, and dispels the mist that has been aroused. 
If the Americans do not resist but yield to the current of 
excitement, it is more from want of independence, than 
from want of a sound, internal, mental judgment. Com- 
paratively rapid and comprehensive in assimilation and 
combination — far more so than the English — the Ameri- 
can mind seems to be indifferent to method ; at the same 
time, by a striking contrast, the intellect is disciplined by 
it in most of its mechanical dealings with the realm of 
matter. Though not absolutely rigorous in its operations, 
the American mind is earnest, giving fixity and ballast, 
and forming a counterpoise to the often febrile unrest of 

The various peculiarities of the American mind, the 
outbursts of its originality and independence, are mani- 
fested more generally and freely in the people at large, in 
its promptings and impulses, than in those which are com- 
monly considered as the representative minds, the literary 
stars, or any other exponents of the spiritual or imagina- 



tive faculties. Among tlie people likewise, as for exam- 
ple among that of New England, that of the West, gushes 
out and is domestic the rich vein of humor, which consti- 
tutes a trait of originality, distinct from the English hu- 
mor, and from that of other Eiiropean nations. 

Taken in the whole, in its substance, the American 
mind is eminently a progressive one. If it is as yet compar- 
atively deficient in absolute philosophical comprehensive- 
ness, if it assiduously elaborates the special and the single, 
b}^ this process it gathers and prepares materials, to be- 
come co-ordinated and then fused together. The eternal 
spirit which watches over the progress and the develop- 
ment of mankind, alternately evokes to prominent activity 
the various powers and attributes of the mind, bringing 
them into full play, and making them preponderate, the 
one over another, according to the given conditions and 
necessities. Observing in mankind the march of mental 
culture, there is clearly perceptible an alternated but un- 
interrupted putting out and holding back of the various 
mental powers, the intuitive and the intellectual playing 
into each other. This assimilation and fusion at the given 
moment of the life of individuals, as of a whole people, 
constitute a complete real progress and civilization. Al- 
most every mental and intellectual phenomenon corres- 
ponds to a philosophical and social claim of our being, and 
solutions are obtained by their harmonious interweaving. 
Then again new problems arise, requiring new combina- 
tions and fresh efforts. Exclusive idealism and exclusive 
positivism, bear the mark of onesidedness and uniformity, 
and are not virtually progressive. A wheel can stand 
still, can turn backwards, but its normal function is to 
move onward, and carry onward all its composing atoms. 
So it is with the mind; it embraces subject and object and 
moves on, because movement and progress are the sole 



conditions of life and of development; ttey alone are 

The powers of the intellect have been exclusively put 
into requisition and taxed from the first signs of vitality 
inade by American society. As a people, as a nation, the 
Americans have not traversed the same successive stages 
as other peoples and nations. It can be said, that Ameri- 
ca has had no childhood, no juvenility. She was not lull- 
ed at the cradle with the legend, with the mythic song, 
with the murmur of tales. The Americans matured at 
once, and at once wrestled with stern reality. The lay, 
the popular minstrel, are wanting in their existence. The 
lay, the song, pour out of the heart and the unruffled feel- 
ings of a people. They flow from the naive faith, and 
the imaginative, undefined, tender longings of childhood 
and of youth. Thus the lay becomes impressed on the 
heart, it penetrates soul and imagination. Where it has 
once resounded, there it never dies away, and can disappear 
only with the disappearance of the human family from the 
earth. The song sways over the heart, undulating it soft- 
ly and playfully between deep earnestness, and sweetly 
moved feelings. The song softens and appeases the most 
bitter and burning pains of heart and soul, as the embrace 
of a mother solaces and appeases the sufi"ering and weeping 
child. When the thorny and withering contact of the 
world stifles the purest pulsations of one's nature, when it 
fills the existence with bitterness and despair, the heavenly 
charm of song warms it again to hope and to life. 

Almost every European people lives upon popular 
lays ; they form the most precious and inexhaustible treas- 
ure of the domestic hearth. Whether by the stern sever- 
ity of the Puritanic rule, regulating and absorbing feel- 
ings, impressions, emotions, or by the arduous hardships 
of existence pressing pitilessly on the primitive .settlers 



north, and south in the United States, the vein of popular 
song was cut through and dried up. From the first day, 
it nevermore gushed anew. Unwonted, nay unknown to 
the American people, to the American hearth, is the 
soothing worship of national and domestic legends, tales, 
traditions, recollections. Pteveries rocked not the people; 
miseries and sufferings, longings and love, found no vent 
in songs and melodies, those holy transmissions from the 
youth of a nation, treasured not in the dead leaves of 
books, but overliving in the memory of successive genera- 
tions. The bards of such-like spontaneous outbursts 
sprouted nameless from the people ; they left their songs 
resounding in the hearts and in the air, but their names 
remained unknown and never have been catalogued. The 
lays, like the art of writing, were not bom in factories, 
nor did they appear as mediators of commercial inter- 
course. There must have been powerful or soft emotions, 
to be sung in ecstatic inspirations, and emotions and ac- 
tions to be preserved from oblivion ; their memory was to 
be transmitted to coming generations. Thus appeared 
unknown minstrels ; thus unknown is the name of the first 
inventor of writing. The lays of unnamed minstrels re- 
peated by the people, inspired a Homer, an Ossian, or the 
Niebelungen ; the song of the people being one from 
among the many ever-enduring sources of poetry. 

Poetical feelings and aspirations are, however, inborn 
in the human mind, in human nature. Poetry, — that 
sublime and purest reflection of the spirit, elevating man 
above the animal world, — poetry is distributed, although 
not equally, in all human beings. Few souls are wholly 
bereaved of this spark, kindling up in youth, and often 
in mere mature age, in love, in actions of sacrifice and 
of struggles, in noble passions, in longings, in aspirations 
towards an ideal, in efforts to elevate oneself above the 



troubled and depressing turmoil of life. How often is 
the simple life of a devoted woman — a wife, a mother, a 
sister — an uninterrupted current of unconscious poetry. 
True poetry is not necessarily self-conscious, self-concen- 
trated. True poetry is not absolutely an art, but rather 
an ecstatic prompting of the soul, and does not always con- 
sist in the musical combination of words, in the harmoni- 
ous, cadenced expression of emotions ; but it makes life 
itself harmonious under all circumstances. The highest 
poetry of life is manifested in action. If^ however, almost 
all beings originally possess such a poetic spark, not in 
all does it survive the terrible contact with the outward 
world. In most it becomes soon exhausted, it dies out. 
In some chosen souls alone the spark kindles to a life- 
giving flame ; inspired by genius, they soar above creation, 
and immortality receives their name. In them poetry is the 
highest art, and the highest completion of their existence. 
Even sufferings and trials often increase the flame, open- 
ing new veins in their inspired souls, sufferings and trials 
being to them as the sledgehammer which crushes glass, 
but forges steel into a sword. 

There must have been poetry of action and of endur- 
ance in the American primitive life, as there was in the 
sacrifices of the Puritans, although it found no vent in 
songs and other productions. The poetical spark slum- 
bered during the colonial time. Colonial existence seems 
never to have been favorable to any kind of poetical effu- 
sions. So the ancient colonies of Greece, in Italy, Sicily, 
Marseilles, repeated the songs of the mother country, but 
no fresh genuine strain flowed from them. It might even 
have been also, that the climate here, assimilating and 
identifying to its influences the new comer, repressed at 
the start the poetical effluence. No spring, but rapid 
transition from winter to summer ; so the individual here 



passes from childhood at once to manhood ; so the people 
unknown, unconsidered yesterday, took at once, in full 
activity, its place among the oldest and grown up nations 
of the world. Among the people of the Old World, even 
material poverty, transformed into a chronic normal state, 
sometimes formed a source of poetical inspiration. There 
the youth of the poorer class, in forced self-contentment, 
abandons himself often to reveries or to the inward life of 
the heart, to soft, lovely emotions ; here the child in the 
cradle, the tender youth, have striven and strive to free 
themselves from the withering embrace of poverty, plunge 
at once into the current of the prosaic but active world. 
Not spring but autumn charms and attracts the Ameri- 
cans ; not the bud — as is it the popular song — but the ri- 
pened fruit, the carefully worked out art, characterize 
American poetry. 

As soon as independence was asserted by the nation, the 
activity of mind became evoked in all directions; po- 
etry and literature began to be a domestic American pro- 
duct. Lyrical poetry preeminently pours out abundant- 
ly, in powerful streams and often full of grace, freshness 
and charm. The lyric productions of acknowledged Amer- 
ican poets, men and women, as well as many accidental 
effusions, can fairly stand beside, and some above the lyri- 
cism of other nations. Many of the little fiery or graceful 
poems, that have been evoked by events of national, do- 
mestic character, bear the mark of originality. 

Generally, however, their literature, with its poetical 
and ephemeral creations, is not original in conception, not 
stamped with individuality, to the same degree, as are the 
life of the people and its political institutions. Emanci- 
pated as a nation, the Americans remain mentally, by 
their literary productions, in the colonial dependence upon 
England. They have outstripped the Old World in most 



of the productions of intellect, in mecliauical arts and inven- 
tions, impressing on them, to a certain degree, the stamp 
of originality ; per contra in literature, they with difficulty 
take an independent start. Many are the natural as well 
as the conventional reasons and causes which account for 
the phenomenon, that in reality there does not exist — a 
few productions excepted, as for example Longfellow's 
Evangelina — an original American literature, but only an 
imitation, or a continuation of the English literature. 
Hitherto literature seems rather to be engrafted on, than 
to sprout out of the vitality of the nation. 

It may be considered as trivial, and in itself not worth 
mentioning, but nevertheless a regret presses on one's 
mind, that with such countlessly accumulated elements for 
originality in every direction, no new language could have 
been created in America. When the Latin world suc- 
cumbed, out of its linguistic ruins emerged the Italian, 
the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Provencal, and the 
French idioms ; the two last (the Provencal through min- 
strels) contributing again, with the Latin and Saxon, to 
shape out the English. All these offshoots of the Latin 
developed themselves, to a certain degree, independently. 
The parturition was difficult, and its process took centu- 
ries. Dante complained of not having a literary national 
language ; but he became the god-father of the idiom 
used by the people, lifted it up, and purified it, and the 
Tuscan was created. By the formation of the above- 
named sprouts from the Latin, new agencies for the ex- 
pansion of the inborn productivity of the human mind 
were brought forth, and the world endowed with new 
characteristic literatures, reflecting the mental, the imagin- 
ative, the social peculiarities of those various nations. 
Such newly formed languages are generally richer in words 



than is their matrix ; hut they are poorer in grammatical 

The English colonists in America, although immersed 
in a new world of intuitions as well as of facts, impres- 
sions, emotions, but neither politically nor mentally severed 
from the mother country, did not attempt to assert a social, 
and still less a literary independence. They were not yet 
a people ; and it is only in a people^ in its distinct, inde- 
pendent existence, that the urgings for self- conscious- 
ness in mental, social, and literary creations are revealed. 
They dared not to overstep the authority, or — what very 
likely they believed — the propriety of the English lan- 
guage, and increase irreverently, by new linguistic com- 
binations and creations, the original parent stock. They 
unconsciously submitted therein to the all-powerful author- 
ity of the masters, using old names, for daily newly ap- 
pearing mental and material phenomena. 

Languages, those great arteries of mental vitality, re- 
pose not on authorities ; — they were not taught by any 
primitive creator or inventor 5 but their creative essence 
and force are in the people, and a distinct language is the 
cardinal assertion of independence. Plitherto, all the 
great nations of mighty and lasting historical significance, 
have had a distinct language. The American nation ap- 
pears the first on the social and political horizon, as yet de- 
prived of this symbol of individuality. Independence 
must exist within, in the thought, and then it becomes as- 
serted outwardly, in all the intellectual, social, and phy- 
sical or material manifestations of an independent people. 
An innate relation exists between thinking and speaking ; 
and the completeness and fulness of this relation reveals 
and points out, in the crowd of nations, the historical peo- 
ple. To speak an original, one's own language^ is to have 
an original, individual manner of thinking, instead of bor- 



rowing other people's comprehensions, ideas, and utter- 
ances. To speak an original la,nguage, is to have inde- 
pendent, individual intuition and conception ; because to 
speak is to manifest the inner thought. Language is the 
manifestation of the spirit geist which animates man. 
Freedom is the characteristic and the element, as well as 
the attribute of the spirit, in contrast to nature or matter. 
Language is the fullest utterance of the spirit ; it pours 
out from the intuitive freedom, and evidences that freedom 
is man's destiny. The development of the spirit and of 
language generally traverse identical stages, both being 
manifestations of virtual individuality. The spirit and 
the language are th-e highest and purest essences of man's 
mental activity. Language has to answer to the demands 
of the mind ; it is therefore ever-living and ever-moving, 
and not made once in time, to last for all eternities. Lan- 
guage ought to keep pace with the expansion of an onward, 
striving people. Words break out from the inward man, 
and their generator is life, and not dictionaries and author- 
ities. A people in the condition of normal and healthy 
growth and development, extending its faculties of com- 
prehension, increasing its multifarious mental productions, 
expanding its aspirations, multiplying its mental and ma- 
terial wants, and the means and resources for their satisfac- 
tion — such a people must unavoidably want new expressions, 
and it creates them. Such words are the spontaneous reve- 
lations of the immanent spirit. The substratum of the Amer- 
€an people, in its unrelenting activity, makes use of such 
creative force. This people moves on a separate, almost 
limitless orbit, and develops its individuality among the new 
mental and physical phenomena therein encountered. The 
people is not disturbed by models or traditional authori- 
ties, but creates new words for new ideas, conceptions, ob- 
jects, emotions, and bestows on them the right of citizen- 



ship. Already many of the same words and expressions 
have different meanings in America and in England. The 
vocahulary of Americanisms forms a thick volume. The 
Americanisms will increase, will become sifted ; and from 
the lips of the people, they will indubitably pass into bookS; 
in spite of their so-called barbarism, and become used by 
refined literators. Their origin, the power creating them, 
are the same as were those of all pre-existent language's, 
and words that are now sustained by authorities, and in- 
cluded in dictionaries. 

The American literators, being brought up and nursed 
on English models, entertain for these authorities the most 
filial deference. They look up to them, rather than to the 
living fountain within themselves, and in the people. They 
are less daring than the people amidst whom they move, 
and who attempt continually to rival old models, to surpass 
them, to strike in every direction an independent vein, dis- 
similar to the English. The highest aim of literators is 
to imitate, to approach those examples, to remain within 
the boundaries traced by those whom they recognize as 
their masters, to win their approbation. The majority, 
above all, of the elder, leading literators, almost in all 
branches, who publish their labors, count upon the circu- 
lation in America, but turn nevertheless their mind to- 
wards England, wherefrom they are anxious to receive the 
supreme consecration, the knightly accolade. England is 
for them the supreme judge of the correctness and purity 
of the language, of the form, the style. This pupil-like 
deference to that distant authority, must influence and 
cramp the spontaneity of their mind, of their imagination, 
always on the alert not to commit a breach upon the pro- 
prieties of conventional or established English rules ; not 
to be self-relying, young ; not to use words or images, not 
to introduce forms, unknown in dictionaries and in time- 



honored authorities. For many of the literators, the ut- 
most possible nicety, the fidelity to English models, to 
English authorities, the finish of the form, becoming in this 
way the main object, the substance, the conception, the 
idea, are often and unavoidably either sacrificed or pushed 
into the back-ground. In most of the authoritative Amer- 
ican writers, there can be detected a certain uneasiness in 
handling the language, as in a dress not fitting them ex- 
actly ; they seem to tread down with hesitation and un- 
certainty on unsafe ground. Few only seem to break, 
self-asserting, through the bar, and take an independent, 
individual course. In reading lengthy English works or 
reviews, one sees minds perfectly at home in the use of the 
language. They handle it with ease and boldness, seem to 
appeal to the inward fountain for words and expressions, 
impressing the reader as being careless of the assent or 
approbation of tutors. The English writers seem to en- 
joy independence ; the critics enter more resolutely in 
general into the intrinsic value of the production, without 
paying so much consideration to the artificial smoothness 
of the form, as is the case in literary and critical America. 

The unequalled actual productivity of the German mind, 
as well in quality as in quantity, is to a great extent fa- 
cilitated by the absolute independence of the writer upon 
authorities and dictionaries. The only authority to which 
a German submits, is the intrinsic nature and character 
of the language, as felt by himself ; the toilsomely elabo- 
rate form, the nicety of style, will never cramp the run of 
an idea. This independence is more pre-eminently as- 
serted in all productions of a so-called serious character ; 
of course, in poetical or ephemeral literature, the rules of 
art are strictly observed. But there is scarcely any Ger- 
man writer, even of secondary name, who does not appeal 
to his innate creative power for bringing out new words 



or turns of expression, answering to new demands of his 
mind or of his imagination. 

The mental dependence upon England is so wide- 
embracing, that even in the judgment of the most cul- 
tivated Americans, familiar with the literatures of other 
European nations, as well as with their development, 
march, and history, England still represents the whole of 
Europe. So when, in any matter whatever, they look for 
a term of comparison, or seek to elucidate a problem, 
either scientific, literary, or social, by correlative facts ex- 
isting in Europe, they generally limit their assertion or 
comparison to England, firmly believing that it is the 
same as if they were drawing the necessary evidences from 
any other European nation. Few hitherto can clearly 
realize and comprehend the immense difference existing 
between the social and mental culture, the customs, 
habits, modes of life, on the Continent of Europe and 
those of England ; few are acquainted to that extent with 
the historical and chronological development and concate- 
nation of various sciences and learning, as to be aware 
that, in this transmission and development, many of the 
sciences have originated or have been carried forward else- 
where than on the English soil. The people at large are 
less under the influence of this mental mirage, and in the 
thus extensive intercourse with Europe, are less ruled and 
influenced by the reverence for England. But as the faith- 
ful wander to Mecca and Kome, paying their worship to 
the pope and cardinals, so American literators of every de- 
gree and hue visit and pay homage almost exclusively to 
their English models and masters. 

Literature being a reflection of the modes, the habits 
of life, as well as of a certain current of notions and ideas, 
its character, even in serious productions, corresponds to 
the character, nay, even to the locality, of the people. 



American literature was started, almost born in New-Eng- 
land, and has been developed principally in Boston. The 
authority of Boston, which prides itself on its close re- 
semblance to vsome secondary features of the English life, 
as well as on.its literary deference to England, has checked, 
in the otherwise independent mind of the people of New 
England, the impulse of originality and of individuality. 
But emancipation dawns. The people at large more and 
more diverges from Old England, and carries away litera- 
ture. Further, the West elaborates a new social and men- 
tal life. There the man must fall back upon his inborn 
resources and faculties ; the inner and the outer world 
equally inspire and urge him to individuality, to independ- 
ence. The mind and imagination have no bounds there. 
Elements of the most varied and strongly dissimilar char- 
acter, mingle and fuse with each other in the West. Their 
shock and fusion will produce new luminous sparks, new 
phenomena. The West seems therefore destined to mark 
a new epoch, to give a new and original start to American 

The American mind, the American people, has the 
greatest capacity of consummation, a capacity unequalled 
and unparallelled by any other people in the history of the 
human race. The very considerable literary home pro- 
duction in America is increased by the English literature, 
and by translations from other languages. The people at 
large, and not only certain portions of them, read ; and thus 
there exists an inexhaustible demand for new products. 
Almost all the branches of mental and intellectual activity, 
good, bad, or indifferent, find issues, and are absorbed by 
the reading public. There are large masses, however, of 
cither poor or illiterate, and scarcely rudimentally in- 
structed whites in the Slavery States, who are not attracted 
to mental occupation, or who cannot buy books. Not less 



considerable is the mass of illiterate Irish, who therefore 
do not contribute to stimulate the demand for domestic or 
imported literary productions. The Germans, amounting 
likewise to several millions, confine themselves mostly to 
German literature. About sixteen millions of inhabitants 
in the United States — principally of the Free States — con- 
stitute the kernel of the population, which absorbs domes- 
tic and English literature, and foreign imports. Not any 
European country, not even several of the most civilized 
ones combined, and accordingly greatly outnumbering 
America, prolFers in proportion so large and remunerative 
an outlet for literary productiveness. 

The mental pursuit of book-writing preserves the 
prominent characteristic of all other pursuits in America. 
It is principally, if not exclusively, an object of material 
gain, and the aim is the sale. Such is the case even with 
productions of serious scientific purport or contents. Eu- 
ropean savants^ in giving to the world the fruits of their 
— aften life-long — protracted speculations, investigations 
and studies, yield more to an inward, moral desire to re- 
veal and throw into the world a new generating idea, by 
which others may become enlightened, or stimulated to 
a new and fresh activity. They have in view scientific 
and literary fame, more than the pecuniary advantages to 
be obtained from their arduous labors, all serious, scien- 
tific books of whatever range meeting generally with a 
rather limited demand. In America, even productions in 
that department are in proportion by far more remunera- 

Theology and history stand foremost among the more 
elaborate indigenous literary products. The numerous 
various confessions, the unlimited religious freedom, and 
the innumerable independent spiritual communities and 
associations which it creates, the religious element still 



powerful in the composition of American society, the 
mental and social standing and influence of the clergy, 
sufficiently explain this prolificness. 

Mythical traditions, legends, lays and tales, preserved 
religiously by oral transmissions, have been the living 
fountains of history for all nations. America, born in 
positive times, and in the epoch of print, could not sur- 
round her cradle with such dim but venerated recollections. 
But for that, the May-Flower, or even the vessels which 
brought to these shores Smith, Raleigh and the other 
first settlers, might have rivalled the Argo in their mythi- 
cal halo. But for that, the daring discoverers of the buf- 
falo tracks in the undulating lands of Kentucky, in the 
prairies of the West ; Fremont, the pathfinder, upon the 
Rocky Mountains, such men might stand before posterity as 
a Hercules, Theseus, or Odin. The recollection of the 
deeds of the past, charms and attracts the human mind, 
Man likes to tear them from oblivion. This tendency of 
the mind is evidenced strongly in America. "With eager 
diligence the Americans make up the deficiency of not be- 
ing covered by the myths and the dust of many centuries, 
by chronicling the most minute details of the action of 
the first settlers, the records of the first settlements, and 
of the establishment of towns, cities, colonies, and their ex- 
pansion into States. Thus every village, nay, almost every 
spot has its positive history, its chronicler. Those sim- 
ple accounts, how society, how communities, communes 
were born and organized here, how natural, simple causes, 
and the combination of events with human activity, hu- 
man social and material wants, almost insignificant at the 
start, in their subsequent normal concatenation, have ex- 
panded and founded States and a nation — these facts by in- 
ference aid to explain the origin of elder and ancient na- 
tions, which is wrapped in mist. Human nature, human ten- 



dencies, cravings and urgings, although not uniform, are in 
substance alike ; their workings, manifold in their out- 
ward results, are evolved from similar foci. Several of 
the events, among which America was conceived, and her 
cradle was rocked, when duly weighed and illuminated, 
partly serve as a thread amocgst the mythico-historical 
mazes of the long by-gone times of the ancient world. 

Unable to ascend back into the night of times, or wrap 
themselves in myths as a nation, the Americans seek a 
compensation in individual genealogies. As the ancient 
families of classical or modern Europe trace their origin 
to gods, demigods, monsters, giants, heroes, so the Ameri- 
cans delight to jump over the honorable, laborious reali- 
ty, which marks their existence as Americans, and to de- 
duce their mythical genealogical trees from English, Sax- 
ons, Norman nobility and gentry, ascending even directly 
to castles in Normandy ; or from the fishermen, hard- 
working and trading mynheers of the Zealand sands and 
marshes, transformed in their imagination, into medieval 
knights. In perusing these accounts, one finds that — 
whatever may be the opinion of English heraldists and 
peers to the contrary — English aristocratic lineages do not 
run the risk of becoming easily extinct, as they branch off 
into numerous American families. This in itself childish 
and innocent desire, evidences that man placed in the most 
opposite conditions, is prompt to overlook his own intrin- 
sic, individual worth for an ephemeral, far-fetched one. 

Genealogy and chronicling, or diligent and laborious 
collecting of biographies, facts, documents, and sources 
are not the oiMy features of American historical litera- 
ture. Philosophical comprehension and criticism illumi- 
nate this field. So Bancroft has distinguished himself 
by the genuine historical intuition, with which his mind 
traces out the knots of the historical net. Seizing these 



knots, he disentangles the threads, follows their windings, 
points out how they again interweave, and how they con- 
tinually complicate and branch off. A lover of freedom, 
but so to say, coldly, elaborately enthusiastic, Bancroft 
shows his mastery in the delineation of historical events, 
of historical characters. Hildreth, an earnest, positive, 
sober narrator, advocates the universality of human rights, 
and thus points out luminously where and how in her 
short historical existence, America has deviated from 
the bright and all-embracing principle of freedom, once 
laid down as the corner-stone of her social structure. 
So is Motley inspired with a noble and ardent hatred of 
oppression and tyranny ; in him the fiery passion for lib- 
erty illuminates and warms his studies and researches, 
giving insight into the true character of those historical 
personages — hitherto misunderstood or overrated — around 
whom were grouped the events of one of the most ominous 
epochs in the history of the emancipation of Europe and 
of the Christian world. 

The industrial and mechanical arts which bear directly 
on the necessities of existence, and urged by these neces- 
sities have generated the most multifarious results. They 
have reached in America an expansion almost unrivalled 
by any other European nation. All such inventions, an- 
swering to immediate demand, become a specialty with the 
Americans. They directly increase the material wealth, 
the forces and the power of the nation, producing the ex- 
pansion of prosperity among the masses of the people. 
Democratic in their nature, origin and results, benefiting 
thereby the greatest number, they stand foremost in popu- 
lar appreciation, and excite general and intense interest. 
In harmony with the state of society, and with its urgent 
necessities, they constitute the salient feature of the 
American mind. And so it happens that millions will 



pass unnoticed a work of the Fine Arts, when an indus- 
trial and mechanical invention would throw them into a 
feverish excitement. 

A taste for the fine plastic arts, a sense of the harmo- 
nious, the beautiful, of refined elegance — inborn, it may be 
a love, in man, when considered in the abstract — often lies 
dormant in the deepest recesses of the mind of the masses. 
In general those senses require certain social conditions, 
a certain state of culture, to be awakened, to bud, to blos- 
som and to give fruits. It is likewise generally asserted, 
that nicety of taste can be acquired only with difficulty, 
as the feeling for the beautiful is not one that can be called 
forth by instruction. Those who find in the law of races 
the solution of mental and social phenomena, concede that 
neither the so-called Anglo-Saxons nor the English are 
pre-eminently distinguished in the plastic arts, or in 
genuine artistic perception. This deficiency extends even 
to carriage, dress, etc. It is maintained that the taste 
for the Eine Arts in the English, is the result of educa- 
tion, of wealth, instead of being inborn, as it is for in- 
stance not only in those born plastics, the Italians, but 
even in the Netherlanders, the Flemish and various Ger- 
manic or Romanic families. English parentage, the very 
natural favor bestowed on purely mechanical and indus- 
trial arts, as immediately productive — the paramount ne- 
cessity of struggling with nature, and tearing from her 
life and situation ; the dollar and cent value which is be- 
stowed finally on every product of the mind, in virtue of 
which the thinker, the artist is considered by many, and 
above all by those who in their opinion are of the better 
and wealthier sort, only in proportion to his gains ; all 
this together would seemingly array and does partly ar- 
ray a sum of odds against a truly artistic taste and devel- 
opment in America. Nevertheless, there is manifest a 



powerful attraction towards the plastic and Fine Arts, evi- 
denced by the comparatively large number of individuals 
devoted to artistic pursuits. 

The natural and progressive development of a people 
is generally slow ; and the aesthetic one — when not favored 
by special combinations — is the slowest of all. Free- 
dom's paramount power, at times more intensely stimulates 
in a people the taste for the beautiful, evokes the longing 
for art, or enhances and generalizes it. Freedom creates 
or opens new arteries for the creative currents of mind 
and of imagination. So freedom can spread in the masses 
refinement and aesthetic taste. A truly independent people, 
fully enjoying and developing its individuality, becomes 
alive to the beautiful in Art. So the Athenians, the pu- 
rest democrats of the Ionic family — had the most refined 
artistic perception and taste among all the Greeks. The 
realm of the Fine Arts is the realm of the absolute, inde- 
pendent spirit. Art in its highest conception and mani- 
festation is the product of self-determination in the artist 
and in the people. Originality is the essence, and imita- 
tion is timidity. Originality consists in the difference of 
the apperceptive powers of one mind or soul from another. 
Character, originality and independence constitute indi- 
viduality. Art, therefore, in order to have a broad and 
luminous signification, ought to be above all intuitive. 
Various are the reasons and the impediments accounting 
for the fact that hitherto American Art has not had a tho- 
rough stamp of intuitiveness and originality. The rea- 
sons are to be found in the nature of existing conditions, in 
tlie artists and in the media wherein he lives and moves. 

Architecture was the first in the genesis of the arts. 
Necessity as well as higher aspirations were its generators. 
It had therefore no original type. In its higher concep- 
tion and execution it was the symbol uttering a religious 



feeling. As such the architectural art was first monu- 
mental, and then it became applied as a domestic, as a 
household one. It would seem that the religious symbol, 
as represented by architectural creations, undergoes va- 
rious modifications ; but only at distant epochs and under 
a special condition of the mind and soul, both of them 
become creative, and bring forth new symbolic utterances. 
Monumental, religious architecture in America cannot in- 
augurate a new conception, but has to combine, adopt and 
imitate. For the Protestant churches of congregational- 
ist, rational, democratic America, the G-reek style, with 
its streams of light, its serene symmetry, like reason lying 
at the bottom of religious America, seems more appropriate 
than the gloomy, sullen, bodeful, awe-inspiring religious 
architecture called Grothic, Norman or romantic. The ab- 
solutely awkward spires or towers so greatly relished on 
American churches, have no symbolical meaning ; they do 
not embellish nor do they give a distinct, imposing, or grace- 
ful physiognomy to the monumental architecture of the 

The various original styles of monumental and reli- 
gious architecture do not absolutely indicate the character 
of a people, but have often depended probably on the kind 
of soil on which they were started and erected ; on the 
climate, the quality of existing materials, and their adapta- 
tion to the original conception and the object in view. The 
inferences in regard to the character of a people drawn from 
its symbolical monuments, are not at all conclusive. 
Gloomy, imposing religious edifices are not an evidence of 
an identical character of the nation or tribe by which they 
are erected. There is nothing more serious and grave than 
the Egyptian religious monuments ; but the frescoes on 
the walls representing their habitations, with the light, 
graceful columns, the vine garlands overhanging the 



houses, place their domestic architecture among the neat- 
est and lightest, and such must have been the inmates of 
the houses in their daily life and intercourse. One of the 
most ancient tribes of Greece, the Tirynthians, although 
they are counted among the originators of the heavy Cyclo- 
pean edifices, were very fond of laughing, and other Glreeks 
considered them a silly people. The church architecture 
adopted or rather preferred in America, does not in the least 
reveal any of the peculiarities of the American mind and 

Civil, monumental and domestic architecture have 
an immense field open before them in America. Thej^, 
to a certain extent, tax the creative power of the ar- 
tists, for whom the peculiarities of the climate, the so- 
cial conditions, the ways and habits of life ought to form 
the determinating characteristics of American architec- 
ture. If it should be difficult or impossible to originate 
a distinct American style, the selection from existing 
styles, their modifications and adaptation to the nature of 
things which prevail here would create almost a distinct 
art. False pretensions, trumpery in drawing and in mate- 
rials ought to be avoided. Gaudy shams, florid additions 
delight in the showy, at the expense of the truly elegant 
and tasteful, ought to be shunned. The art or the artist 
ought to resist and correct the desire of making an unne- 
cessary and indiscriminate display of wealth, or of push- 
ing aside symmetry for the sake of premature combina- 
tions, represented as originality. Generally, architecture 
has no field at present for new creations. Only a thorough 
transformation of society would start a truly original ar- 

Sculpture and painting have their ideals and types in 
the intuitive revelations of the spirit, and in the reflection 
of nature. Their various productivity is limitless in priu 



ciple and inexhaustible. In sculpture and painting, im- 
provement and individuality ought therefore to be attain- 
able bj the American artists. Intense vitality animates 
the genuine American people ; taken together in all its 
characteristics, peculiarities and modes, it is full of energy, 
prompt in action, and on a larger scale than were even 
the Athenians. In the deep, broad, overflowing land, the 
whole current of people, the artist ought to search for 
types, models, and inspirations. There is the space for 
artistic genius. 

G-enius reveals itself intuitively. It bursts from the 
recesses of the mind and rushes to communion with eternal 
nature. The harmonious blending of this impulse with 
the objective world, turns inspiration into reality, and art 
is born. Genius and talent elaborate art. Genius reveals 
and creates, talent reproduces with more or less finish ex- 
ternal perceptions. Both therefore in various gradations 
constitute the artist. The loftier and purer are the inspi- 
rations of the artist, the more fully and perfectly he brings 
out the various manifestations to plasticity from the depth 
of the human spirit and soul ; a depth which he can only 
fathom by the force of his individual mind. The plastic 
work of art takes the middle ground between the imme- 
diately sensual and the ideal conception. Thus the mere 
strict imitation of nature is not the exclusive scope of art, 
but to evoke, to incite all the countless emotions of which 
man is susceptible, to robe them with corporeal realiza- 
tion. Man and his nature are the object of art ; man as he 
feels, lives, acts, as he is impressed, nay, even surrounded 
by the world without. In painting, but above all in 
sculpture, only one moment in a given action can be se- 
lected, seized and fixed ; and all the secondary parts and 
details are to be brought submissively but harmoniously 
into accord with that paramount moment. The problem 



to be solved in sculpture consists in sinking and fixing into 
the statue the spiritual essence of the being, to bring this 
essence into such accord with the body, that the reflection 
of the spiritual becomes expressed and conspicuous in that 
special form and part of the body which corresponds to the 
passion or emotion to be represented. The transient and 
accidental in all the other parts or members of the statue, 
ought, so to say, to dissolve, to disappear in the paramount 
aim, preserving nevertheless in the whole the marks of in- 
dividuality. The vitality, elasticity, and freedom of the 
sculptured body depend on the precision, and on the con- 
scious elaborate finish, of every single part thereof 

Regarded under the above aspect, sculpture can be 
uninterruptedly creative. Even in Europe — where art for 
many reasons has collapsed into routine — art makes efibrts 
to imshackle itself from the onesighted comprehension of 
the antique or classical, and of its slavish imitation, avoid- 
ing likewise being carried away into the infinite of romantia 
exaltation. Both these directions have been run to their 
utmost limits and consequences, and the problem of our 
epoch seems to be, to bring into accord, inspiration, imagi- 
nation, with nature and study ; the contemplation of nature 
resultiug without contempt of classical art. When the 
above problem shall be solved, the epoch of self-conscious- 
ness in art will become inaugurated. The works of art 
have to reflect the endless agitations, emotions, and play of 
our imaginative and sensitive faculty. A genuine artist 
must have the full consciousness of his creative power ; he 
ought to dominate above the vacillations of his own ima- 
gination, as well as to be free from slavish deference to 
classical models and their imitation. He ought to stand 
firmly on his individual mental and even domestic ground. 
Such artists alone have initiated new epochs and schools. 



To reach such height ought to be the aim of American 

Palmer, the child of the people, receiving from it his 
inspirations, seems to approach the threshold of such a new 
era. His works have the marks of the above-mentioned 
tendency of the century, as well as of the country and of 
the people. In him the intuition of genius reveals the new 
road, which is pointed out in Europe by criticism, reflection 
and study. His works are truly American. His ideal of 
beauty is not limited to the Grreek or classic type. He 
shows himself to be an individuality, and not a coerced 
imitator. The supreme beautiful is always a compound 
of invention and imitation. So are always born — and so 
has Palmer created them — the highest poetized reali- 
ties. Art is to be the free but inspired interpreter of 
natui-e, of the living model ; the expression of the senti- 
mental, of the beautiful, of the vivid, soft, deep, or intense 
emotions of the soul, does not necessarily require to be en- 
compassed by what is called perfectly classical features. 
Nature revelling in diversity of traits, exhibits herself 
with charm in the so called incorrect facial outlines. A 
deviation from the absolutely classical type enhances, gives 
freshness to the works of art. 

Painting more fully embraces man and nature than 
sculpture^ and commands a greater variety of material 
faculties to reflect, to reproduce inward emotions and out- 
ward impressions. Its cardinal element is light — (as 
shadow is only its diminution) — or idealized matter. 
The creative power of this art embraces a wider sphere, by 
bringing out more completely and saliently the inmost 
emotions of the soul. The individuality of the artist has 
innumerable ways and unlimited material resources to 
assert itself, and this accounts for so many and various 
schools of painting. Landscape painting has not its foun- 



tain in intuition, inspiration, but wholly depends on ma- 
terial nature, and on the endless combinations of her va- 
rious images. 

Painting is largely and diligently cultivated in Amer- 
ca, but hitherto has not risen to a self-determined artis- 
tic individuality. Europe proffers to the American 
student her most accumulated treasures for study, and 
there he disappears in the labyrinth of master-works, 
schools and various attractions. And thus American art 
is yet either wholly in infancy or limited to imitation. 
Its development is constrained and spasmodic, and al- 
though some distinguished talents sparkle, no native 
genius soars, marking the dawn of a genuine national art. 
In certain conventional social conditions surrounding the 
artist at home, and partly rooted in the artists themselves, 
less even than in the dispositions of the people at large, 
or in the prevalence of a democratic atmosphere, we are to 
look for the reasons of this rather unsteady and unpropi- 
tious course. Portrait painting — a few historical compo- 
sitions excepted — is, if not the paramount, at any rate the 
cardinal and all-absorbing productiveness of American 
artists. It carries them away. But not from portrait 
painting emerged the immortal masters, who have given 
the character to art, and elevated it to a heavenly spiritual 
perfection. Corregio, who stands unsurpassed and alone, 
was not a portrait painter. Van Dyke's portraits, as well 
as those of all the great artists, occupy the second range 
in the appreciation of their various productions. 

Portrait painting being the most remunerative in Amer- 
ica, it therefore attracts naturally the artist. It is in ac- 
cordance with the general character of society — above all 
of that portion which possesses the means of remunera- 
tion. The demand for portraits increases with increasing 
prosperity and wealth, and answers to the inborn and justi- 



fiable vanity of our nature. But in this rapid production, 
inspiration — if there was any in the artist — dies slowly 
out, and even the principles of art become — often uncon- 
sciously — neglected. Difficulties grow more and more 
before him, who in proportion loses the means to over- 
come the hinderances, loses his intuitive insight in art. 
One can observe in the successive exhibitions of the Ameri- 
can artists, how year by year most of them become less 
and less skilful in combining in just proportions art and 
truth. A good portrait painter is to bring out what is 
characteristic, without running into caricature ; he is to 
vail — without seeming effort — that of which only a 
glimpse is to be had. Beyond the inward sentiment in 
the artist himself, there exists no rule to fix the propor- 
tions between sincerity and artifice ; and this sentiment, if 
not nursed carefully in the soul of the artist, in his feel- 
ings, shrinks and becomes extinguished. To be sure, 
faithfulness to the original is to be found, is to be felt 
deeply by the gazer. The works ought to be true, but 
without excess. Style, or what is even still worse, the 
affectation of one — which exercises such havoc at present 
every where — ought not to destroy or overshadow the 
mental expression in the original ; precision is not to run 
into dryness, nor what in nature is elastic, to become mel- 
low under the brush. Portrait painting, as observable in 
the exhibitions, descends by degrees into a mechanical task. 
The majority of artists delight in the facility of produc- 
tion, and lose the feeling of the exquisite, their brush 
loses the habit of correctness, and thus instead of reach- 
ing the graceful, they arrive at stiffness. They slowly fall 
into poverty of intention, into meagreness of design, and 
occasionally into a harshness of tint, at the side of which 
their other faults vanish. They seem oftviii to have lost 
the faculty to fix the measure of the relations of contrasts, 



forgetting that a tint faultily selected, falsifies and destroys 
the effect of the surrounding tints — though selected with 
taste and skill. Arrived at this stage, art and artist are 
only imitators and counterfeiters of masters and schools ; 
the ideal of art vanishes from their mind. The feeling 
of the beautiful in art disappears, in proportion as the 
artist loses sight of the ideal and drops into imitation. 

The generality of American artists crowd mostly to the 
commercial metropolis, attracted there by the greater op- 
portunity to find demand for profitable work. They re- 
turn from Europe with the dim idea, that a large Ameri- 
can commerial and populous city can proffer to them the 
elements, the means, nay the atmosphere so necessary to 
their further artistical development, to their inward artis- 
tical existence. But in neither respect does an American 
commercial metropolis bear any resemblance, or contain 
the same various social, civilizing and modelling elements 
as the European capitals, or as once did the cities of Italy, 
Belgium, the Netherlands, or Germany, celebrated in the 
history of art. The American cities are not centres, where 
the whole life of the people condenses, reflects itself, ra- 
diating therefrom again. Their tone and their influences 
are almost exclusively those of business and money-making ; 
and as such they affect the artist's existence. 

•The highest European social circles consider the artist 
among their gracefullest adornments. The aristocracy of 
genius, or the talent of the artist, at any rate finds more easily 
a deferential place amid the aristocracy of Europe, than 
among the would-be aristocracy of an American commer- 
cial metropolis. Besides, without that social circle, the 
artist finds in the European cities variegated, picturesque, 
suggestive excitements, ebullitions of life in all directions, 
and attractive or instructive associations. All this com- 
bined puts into shadow the sameness which prevails in 



American cities, acts powerfully on the artist, excites and 
expands his mind, spreads fresh and various food for his 
imagination. The exchange of impressions, ideas, ripens 
to revelations in works of art. So the poet of history, 
Groerres, inspired KauPoach, and many great works of art 
have been generated by the like mental intercourse and 

Italy, that sacred and privileged land of art, the Ital- 
ians its born worshippers, are not fit standards for compari- 
son. But the Belgian, Dutch, and G-erman cities, where 
the arts flourished, were likewise, as are the American cities, 
prominently the seats of industry and trade ; and never- 
theless the arts found in them their shrine. Bich and 
poor were attracted towards the artist, he was surrounded 
with enthusiastic respect. There the artist felt his exist- 
ence interwoven with that of the people. His standing in 
the palaces or in public squares was among the foremost. 
It does not seem that the American artist finds here this 
warm atmosphere, so necessary to his existence and expan- 
sion. His studio counts not among the prides of the city, 
and of its inhabitants. Art is looked at and liked, but 
not worshipped. The existence of an artist is not an en- 
tity in the American life, in the American social relations. 
Very few only among the wealthy classes, or those who 
enjoy leisure, find time to throw a glimpse on art and 
artists. Most of them believe that, paying for a picture 
or a bust, they completely fulfil their duty to society and 
art. That kind of society demands of literature and from 
art, to be entertained, amused. It is even sensible to the 
glory spread by them over the nation ; but it does not 
understand how to surround the artist in every day's in- 
tercourse with cheering and refined consideration. That 
society does not imagine, that a large remuneration is not 
sufficient to nurse the tender growth of art, among a stifi", 



discolored, conventional world, an imitation of all imi- 

Such seem to be the social influences of an American 
metropolis on the artists; if otherwise, why are the best 
and most eminent among them continually oozed out from 
their country ? why do those who remain collapse, while a 
progressive sinking is visible in their works t The air, 
therefore, of American cities acts slowly, but it seems to 
depress and wither them, often without their being con- 
scious of it. Most of the artists continually seek a n_ore 
congenial atmosphere. Almost all their best productions 
have been composed or executed in Europe. While they 
dwindle at home, they reinvigorate in the distant pilgrim- 
age. Thus, among others, the masterly historical paint- 
ings of Leutze are executed in Europe. 

Not in Europe, however, can be created a genuine 
American art. There the artist stands on foreign soil, and 
is lost among the schools. Art must have, as it has always 
had, its own national ground and fountain. A mental, 
spiritual, as well as a material communion, must exist un- 
interruptedly between the artist and the people. So it 
was in Athens, so in modern Europe, wherever art has 
flourished, and wherever schools or particular genres were 
created. The true artist grows and expands on domestic 
soil, ought to breathe domestic aroma ; and then only he 
gives to art the national stamp. The artist residing in 
Europe, or even in such American cities as do not mirror 
the life of the people nor its physiognomy, will never create 
a distinct American art. The Madonnas of Raphael have 
a Florentine and Eoman type. All that surroands them 
is Italian, and represents the minutiae of the Italian life. 
Da Vinci, Titian, preserved to their masterpieces the Lom- 
bard, the Venetian character. Zurbaran, Murillo, etc., are 
Spaniards in their Madonnas, their saints, angels, and 



Christ children, as well in the street boys and beggars. 
The splendid carnation of the pictures of Kubens repro- 
duces the Flemish type. The Holbeins, Diirer, are emi- 
nently German. All these examples show that art remains 
always faithful to the character of the nation in features 
and types, as well as in the paraphernalia. The Nether- 
land school was born out of the independence of the na- 
tion. In all its branches, composition, portraits, or land- 
scape, it is the most faithful reflection, not only of the 
lineal features of the Dutch, but of their modes of life, 
manners, habits, customs^ dresses, various social distinc- 
tions, of the festivals and occupations of all classes of the 
people. So was formed the character of the Netherland 
school and genre. It became distinct and original by re- 
maining faithfal to the people. 

Art cannot acquire expansion and splendor if it is a 
luxury enjoyed or understood only by few. Poetry, lite- 
rature, as well as art, ought to plunge into the daring and 
vigorous life of the great body of the people, and not plash 
in the vapid air of cities, in their conventionally distorted 
societies. The artistic feeling in the American people 
must be formed independent of the aristocratic one. To 
create such a feeling seems to be the mission of a gen- 
uine American artist. Artists created tho love of arts in 
the people of Athens, Italy, Belgium, Holland, etc. A 
Pericles cannot emerge out of the American institutions. 
A church, like the Catholic corporations, aristocracies 
and sovereigns, are impossibilities here and art must 
prosper without them. Artists creating a national art 
will create a feeling, a sense and an interest for art among 
the people ; in the people alone he will find lavish and 
hearty patronage. 

Music has its fountain in our soul, is the purest and 
loftiest expression of its various emotions. The Germans 



believe music to be the poetry of the soul. Among the 
genuine Americans, music, however deeply felt and va- 
lued,- seems nevertheless to be an acquired and cultivated 
taste. The musical sense is touched, incited from without, 
but bursts not spontaneously from within. There are no 
domestic popular melodies resounding from the chords of 
the heart, vibrating with the various emotions, as there 
are no national dances, the one and the other revealing an 
inborn musical sense. The acquired, the cultivated taste, 
spreads elaborately in cities and villages, in rich parlors 
and in cottages. Those re-echo the fervently studied, 
mostly operatic Italian airs, or at times English ballads. 
Difficult, ungrateful and almost impossible must prove the 
attempt of an American musical genius to create a specific 
American art. He cannot make vibrate what does not 
exist ; he cannot evoke from within himself, nor become 
inspired, nor move and draw from an inward genuine na- 
tional melodial flow, which is not running in the utmost 
depth of feeling, not caressingly undulating in tunes. 
He cannot strike such sympathetic chords in the breast of 
his compatriots, as do in their homes the Italian, German 
or French composers. 

Aside from what in their compositions is a creation 
inspired by the intuitive art in its expression of general 
human emotions, passions, or longings, those composers 
strike peculiar accords, combining, re-echoing, modulating 
feelings and sounds almost innate in the various nations 
among which they live. So for example, Meyerbeer re- 
echoes the chant of the Hebrew synagogues ; Gottschalk, 
the American composer, owns his all conceded originality 
to having struck the rich vein of the Negro melodies. 
Music very likely will for a long time, if not for ever, re- 
main a studied, borrowed, and therefore artificial taste and 
want for this country. 





Social conditions variously influence and model customs, 
usages, habits, and manners. In Europe, tlie distinctions 
which have existed for centuries, the different social con- 
ditions, pursuits, and daily occupations of each social 
stratum, have shaped out a variety of customs peculiar to 
each class. At the side, therefore, of certain national 
habits, common to all — nobility, burghers, the loAver 
classes, composed of operatives, laborers and peasantry — 
each of them has certain characteristic usages. No such 
social subdivisions and distinctions having existed in 
America at the start, nor existing now, the customs, hab- 
its, usages of the Americans are more uniform than those 
of European nations. Little if any difference exists there- 
in between cities and villages, between what is customary 
in the dwellings of the rich in commercial cities, or 
plantations, and in the cottages of artisans and farmers. 
These habits, notwithstanding their modification by wealth 
or by attempted assimilation to the modes of life of the 
aristocratic and superior European classes, in their gene- 
rality are similar to the mode of life among the small Eu- 
ropean burghers [jpeiite bourgeoisie). They are similar in 
their general character and their minute shadowings, as the 
mode of life of the first settlers was necessarily a transmis- 
sion and a continuation of the life of the small burghers 



artisans, or yeomen, from wliom most of the settlers draw 
their honorable origin. Domestic, family, household vir- 
tues were once in Europe called specially the burgher's vir- 
tues ; they consisted in quietness, sobriety, order, labori- 
ousness, morality. Such was and must have been preemi- 
nently the American domestic life and intercourse. Lux- 
ury, lavishness, expensiveness, are only comparatively 
recent acquirements, overhanging the traditional customs. 

The ceremonies used at festivals, weddings, receptions, 
and various other occasions, in even those habitual social in- 
tercourses among the wealthiest who are most apt to imitate 
the European higher classes, differ nevertheless almost 
wholly from those in use among them ; bear the strongest re- 
semblance to the usages which are considered in European 
higher society as obsolete, but which are religiously pre- 
served in some corners, in second and third rate cities, by 
their burgher inhabitants. The highest burgher classes of 
the Old World,, composed of bankers, capitalists, money 
makers, ov financiers^ wealthy industrials, and professional 
men, since the great French revolution mix more or less 
freely, and stand almost on an equal footing with the an- 
cient nobility. Their manners and customs are nearly the 
same, and small existing differences can be detected only by 
a well experienced eye. The customs and manners com- 
mon to them are rarely transplanted into America, and are 
not indigenous to the country. Besides, new exigencies 
and modes, special and peculiar to the American conditions 
of society and life, have operated on the social intercourse. 
And thus an immense difference exists between the con- 
ventionalities by which social intercourse is regulated in 
Europe and in America. However complete the knowledge 
of the like conventionalities and habits acquired among the 
best and most fiDished society in Europe, one might still 
stumble often here, as many such conventionalities have 


a totally opposite signification in their bearing, as polite- 
ness and impoliteness, in America and in Europe. 

Notwithstanding the already acquired and rapidly in- 
creasing wealth and prosperity of the people, there exist 
only a few individuals and no classes of leisure, and their 
influence on social life and its usages has hitherto been 
in general imperceptible. In Europe the aristocracy, 
that is, a whole class of families living by the labor of 
others, have formed, for uncounted centuries — Grreece and 
Kome included — the pivot of social relations, their apex, 
as well as the nursery of refined customs and usages. In 
America individual labor and occupation have been imper- 
ative necessities of existence, as well as the means of social 
distinction ; they have therefore influenced and shaped 
out to a great extent American customs and usages, stamp- 
ing on them in many respects a distinct mark. This land, 
this society proffers no space, no inducements, no charm 
for an intellectual and still less for a social leisure. Pro- 
duction, activity are enjoyments, and existence becomes a 
burden, and deteriorates morall}^ and materially without a 
serious pursuit, without daily work and occupation. In 
European societies persons of leisure or of idleness plunge 
into various excitements ; many of them refined, but often 
mischievous to themselves and others. America proffers 
only somewhat gross or coarse pastimes for such a class ; 
most men retiring from active or business life, after a short 
time return to it indirectly, and continue to dabble in 
money-making. Thus generally when Europeans chatter, 
the Americans sign bills, stocks, or — as it is said in com- 
mon parlance — shave. 

The active, busy, industrious, and in all conditions of 
life, hard-working Americans do not surpass, however, in 
endurance of toil that immense portion of European so- 
cietv, which in all social gradations is likewise obliged to 


earn a livelihood, either in an elevated or in the lowest 
social condition. That the European men of business, of 
every profession, the officials, artisans, operatives, laborers 
- — when not utterly poor and destitute — find almost daily 
a few hours to devote to leisure, to sociability, and even to 
amusement, results from a certain superior method in the 
distribution of their hours and occupations, and from the 
habits thus acquired. 

The myriads of various officials, high and low, are at 
work more hours daily than are the men in corresponding 
stations in America. The wheelworks of the govern- 
mental machineries are more complicated ; on account of 
centralization they embrace far more objects, and cover 
far more extensive space. The countless threads of the 
government and of all the branches of administration, 
penetrate in most minute ramifications the whole social 
structure, cross and combine with each other, and depend 
wholly upon precision in their working and rotations for 
preventing accumulation, interruption, stagnation. The 
various official correspondences, even of the inferior offi- 
cials, are very complicated and extensive, and the superior, 
therefore, as the inferior, spends more time at his desk 
than his American colleague. The responsibility, the dis- 
cipline, the absolute dependence on the chief or superior, 
the continually increasing competition, by far surpassing 
the demand, the almost insurmountable difficulty in find- 
ing a new occupation, position, nay the means of sustain- 
ing existence, when those once possessed are lost ; all this 
summed up together, obliges the European officials to be 
to the utmost precise, diligent, and assiduous in fulfilling 
their daily- tasks and duties. 

The man of studious pursuits, the savans, the profes- 
sors at universities and gymnasia, above all in Germany, 
generally cover a more extensive as well as a deeper ground 


with their labors and investigations. They are surrounded 
by numerous competitors and critics ; and either if de- 
pendent on government, or on the public favor or assent, 
they must maintain by the utmost efforts and diligence, 
their scholarship and their scientific name, on both which 
depend their mostly scanty means of daily existence. The 
hours devoted daily by a professor in Europe to teaching 
and lecturing, generally equal and often outnumber what 
in similar conditions are devoted here. The principal in- 
come of a professor depends upon the fees received from 
the students. Often several professors lecture on the 
same subject in the university ; or a professor who has ac- 
quired fame in a speciality, attracts pupils in hundreds 
from all Germany. The students have mostly the free 
choice of university and of professor, and thus is created 
and maintained an uninterrupted rivalry and competition, 
by which science and her worshippers are equally bene- 
fited. All this taxes to the utmost the time and the men- 
tal capacities of the professors and savants, whose pro- 
ductivity, as is evidenced by their various publications 
and contributions, on the average surj^ass those of Amer- 
ican scholars and men devoted to the various scientific 
professions. In spite of all this accumulation of labor, 
the European savants in general, and in particular the 
far-famed German professors, those mines of learning and 
productivity, spend almost daily a couple of hours in so- 
ciable relaxation, conviviality, or genial conversation. All 
such pastimes are nearly unwonted, or rarely enjoyed by 
the American learned brotherhood. 

Artisans, shopkeepers, tradesmen, merchants, bankers, 
in general all business men, in Europe as in America, must 
rely alike upon skill, shrewdness, acuteness, and aptitude 
for their pursuits. But as Europe is the centre of com- 
mercial, banking and industrial activity, production, and 



expansion, the commercial combinations are more wide- 
embracing and complicated there than in America. This 
alone obliges the European bankers, the chiefs of indus- 
try, and commercial men, to devote their intellect more 
intensely to various and accumulated operations. Be- 
sides, in Europe the crowd is dense, every spot is occu- 
pied, and he who falls is downtrodden, and usually has no 
opportunity to rise again and to gather new forces. On 
the continent, the failure of a commercial house generally 
disgraces the name of the party, his family, his children, 
and is often followed by suicide. Thus the existence of 
a man engaged in a regular honest business, is a struggle 
for honor, for life and death. Here, on the contrary, an 
individual, unsuccessful in any branch or line, rises as 
quickly as he fell ; dusts himself oiF, and rushes again into 
the same or another enterprise, without any great injury 
to his name or credit. An American changes place, and 
even occupation, pursuit, trade, running from one extreme 
to another, with a rapidity and ease neither thought of 
nor possible in crowded Europe. For these reasons, Eu- 
ropean merchants, bankers, and business men ought ap- 
parently to be more overworked, and have fewer hours to 
devote to social intercourse and even amusements, than 
the Americans. But the contrary is the case. In Euf 
ropean capitals, in large and small cities, that class of men 
participates in all large and small, in public and private 
amusements and gatherings, for which the Americans gen- 
erally either have no taste or no time. And nevertheless, 
the American seems to be always in a hurry and excited ; 
at his meals,, in his study, and at his counter. For exam- 
ple, in the morning hours, when the New York business 
population, old and young — and all is business in New 
York — pours out into the main artery, in Broadway, and 
descends hurriedly " down town," nothing in the world 



could stop or divert the torrent. Even if Sebastopol liad 
been in their way, those men would have run over it at 
one rush. 

The unsteadiness, however, which prevails in all Amer- 
ican conditions and pursuits, renders it very difficult and 
thorny to the American business men to attend to the su- 
perintendence and direction of details in the management 
of their various interests. Although the business of the 
European is more complicated and more extensive, it can 
be more easily organized, brought into a methodical and 
regular activity, and thus be more easily superintended- 
In Europe the subordinate clerks have not as many va- 
rious and free openings before them as in America ; and 
thus they remain in their condition often for life ; they ac- 
quire the necessary routine of each special house ; win the 
confidence of the employers, and become faithful and trusty 
workers. Often in Europe the existence of a clerk and 
subordinate is intimately interwoven with the existence, 
the honor, the welfare of the house ; he becomes a member 
of the body, a boue of its bones. In America men change 
continually as their prospects brighten, and thus the chiefs 
of commercial houses must continually and laboriously 
train new subjects, and exercise a more strict vigilance 
upon them and their daily work. Such a continual effort 
must be more exhausting, than are the intense and wide- 
reaching, but methodical and calmly conducted, operations 
of European mercantile and banking houses. This daily 
fatigue and exhaustion may account for the fact, that gen- 
erally very few men of mature age are to be seen in social 
circles and places of amusement. 

Artisans, operatives, workingmen in overpeopled Eu- 
rope, have far smaller gains and wages than the same 
classes in America. To make their living, they must 
therefore work longer and harder. The small workshops 



open earlier, and the operatives are more hours at their 
task in Europe than in America, and so are generally me- 
chanics at out-door work. The various tools used by 
Americans being, however, more perfect and handy than 
those used by the majority of Europeans, the former no 
doubt accomplish more work in a given time than the lat- 
ter. A European village, farm, and field are likewise al- 
ready animated while the American one still slumbers ; 
and generally only the darkness of night stops the toil of 
a European farmer, field-laborer, or journeyman. 

Economy in general prevails not among Americans to 
the same extent, as it does among those various European 
classes, who are obliged to live by their labor, of whatever 
nature, — the superior social crust, formed of various ele- 
ments, aristocratic as well as bourgeois, alone excepted. In 
America, labor is almost always productive — matter, na- 
ture is exuberant, and the general rise of every object so 
continual that the value of land, of products, etc., double 
quickly, almost as by their innate movement. No one 
seems to think about the necessity of saving, or of husband- 
ing material resources. The Americans economize forces 
by their labor-saving machineries, which have been con- 
trived by necessity, — but in handling the primitive matter 
and produce, they waste it with a lavishness unknown to 
Europeans, who are short of space, overburdened, com- 
pressed by vicious, social organization, and crowded upon 
one another.* 

* The creative forces of nature seem likewise not to "be carefully 
husbanded. Among other striking proofs of it is the destruction of 
the forests by use and misuse, by the axe, and by fires. In some time 
the climate may become affected by this destruction, as there exists 
no other barrier to break the northern and north-western winds and 
storms, freezing the country and covering it with snow almost in one 
day — from a Siberian to the Italian, nay to an African latitude. 
Colds and snows are always more violent in the prairies, on account 



The dwelling houses of the masses of Americans, their 
food — at least the provisions for it are better and more 
plentiful — and their external appearance in dress, is also 
more decent and neat than that of Europeans. Palaces, 
refinement, splendor, finish, elegance, luxury, taste, and 
genuine fashion are at home in Europe, and remain there 
unrivalled. But they are the lot, the patrimony only of 
certain classes. The average of ximericans are better 
housed and fed, are far better and more substantially 
dressed than the average of Europeans. Homespun has 
almost disappeared, and the consumption of various articles 
by twenty odd million Americans surpasses that of one 
hundred millions of Europeans. Peasants, villagers, al- 
most all the laboring populations in Europe are generally 
poorly and cheaply clad ; suits of clothes among them are 
hereditary, and women often principally wear those of their 
grandmothers. If America is deprived of the picturesque 
costumes to be found among European nations, she has far 
less tatters — and generally only imported beggars. The 
European populations enjoy, however, in one respect an 
incontestable superiority. The disgusting habit of tobacco 
chewing, which is so common in all social positions in 
America, and its so repugnant results, are almost unknown 
in Europe, chewing being limited, with rare exceptions, 
only to sailors and to the lowest and poorest inhabitants 
of maritime cities. 

The love of show and of shining, of keeping up external 
appearances, and of thus winning consideration, is carried 
by the Americans to a degree unusual in Europe, and 
above all on the continent. The coat makes the man, is 
proverbial here. The love of external show, a social weed 

of their denudation. So tlie destruction of forests in the mountainous 
parts of France occasions frequent and violent inundations ; and 
now it is almost too late to stop the freshets and repair the mischief. 


generating many evils, and in its various ramifications de- 
structive of easy, unpretentious, sociable life, seems to 
spread more luxuriantly in the city mansions of the wealthy 
than in the cottages of the people. Among the masses, it 
has partly its source in a misapprehension and perversion 
of the notion of democratic equality, and, in its more in- 
tense development among the superior crust, it is one of 
the signs of a disease, eaten deeply into all degrees of Eng- 
lish society, and inherited partly by Americans. Snob- 
bism^ one of Vvdiose numerous symptoms is to attach more 
value to outward distinctions than to the inner worth of 
an individual) and to reflect a borrowed lustre ; snobbism, 
in its fulness and completeness, is nearly unknown to any 
class of continental societies, and no other language has an 
equivalent for it. Snobbism, however, generally loses its 
hold on the great current of the American people ; those 
only are strongly affected by it, who attempt or think to 
rise conventionally above the mass. 

The always hurrying, excited, busily occupied Ameri- 
cans have no time to imitate and to learn, from those 
who are regarded as standards, the daily use of those 
most minute details and rites of courtesy, whose scru- 
pulous observation and exchange cement social inter- 
course, and smooth the asperities arising from the division 
of European society into classes, annulling these divisions 
with the level of politeness. The thoroughbred European 
aristocrat is generally the most scrupulous in observing 
towards his equals, and still more towards his inferiors in 
a social point of view, those highest degrees of masonry 
of good-breeding, in which few seem to be initiated here, 
or to the fulfilment of which either time or habit is want- 
ing. In other respects, when the Americans are in a nor- 
mal state, as is the majority of all social positions of the 
people, good-breeding prevails, and hearty, intentional po- 



liteness marks their address and intercourse. Intentional 
coarseness and rudeness are rare and exceptional among 
the masses ; and their easy, off-hand, straight -forward man- 
ners are neither ill-bred, derogatory, nor offensive. Democ- 
racy teaches self-respect to everybody, in respecting others. 
The straight-forward address of the man of the West, as 
well as the often spoken of curiosity, inquisitiveness, of the 
American people, of the Yankee in particular, are neither 
offensive nor rudely intrusive. Only snobs, filled with su- 
perciliousness and affectation, shudder at them. But dis- 
gusting is the mixture of assumption, constraint, stiffness, 
affectation, fidgetiness, which by many are put on as good- 
breeding, or as refined demeanor, making them in turn rude 
or obsequious, as if momentary and feverish obsequiousness 
were courtesy or good-breeding. The inquisitiveness of 
the people at large is often a childish, naive curiosity, 
striving for information. The Yankee always tries to in- 
crease his stock of knowledge ; and, after all, even the 
cunning mixed with it is rather amusing than otherwise. 
Moreover, man is normally communicative and easy; 
closeness, secrecy, are an artificial state. They are a devi- 
ation from our nature, imposed by necessities, by a per- 
verted social organization, but they are not innate. The 
people at large, practising and* observing politeness in their 
own way, seem not to wear a heavy harness, while often 
for those who believe that they constitute a superior and 
distinct class, politeness is not an innate or daily habit ; 
but they put it on as a Sunday dress, or tight boots, be- 
coming stiff, uneasy, and hurrying to throw off with joy 
the uncomfortable gear. The man of the South, possessing 
generally many amiable social qualities, is on the average 
more easy, elastic, urbane, and scrupulously observant of 
conventional relations, than is often the man of the North- 
ern States. 



Now, as of old, hospitality constitutes one of the no- 
blest features of human society. In America, as every 
where, it has various characteristics and modes. Much of 
it is spurious, and much genuine. Houses thrown open, 
or dinners served up in rich private halls, with the purpose 
to overpower the visitor with* costly furniture, plate, or 
wines, to earn his applause after such display, and have 
thus one's own vanity gratified, constitutes not hospitality. 
Practised in this way, it loses aroma and the convivial 
character, being marred by a kind of mercantile calcula- 
tion. It is no more hospitality, but a speculation, a debt 
paid or contracted purposely, towards those who are in a 
position to repay it here or eventually in Europe. So the 
conspicuous social circles generally pay visits, while in 
Europe every body makes them. The genuine European 
aristocracy, as well as the wealthy classes, mixing with it, 
and largely practising hospitality, do not make it depend 
upon debt and credit ; the favor, the honor, the pleasure 
bestowed, is mutual between the host and the guests. 
Hospitality and social intercourse generally spread a real 
charm when disinterested. Exchange of ideas, genial in- 
tercourse, stand higher than a simple exchange of dinners. 

Unassuming, hearty hospitality more easily warms the 
roofs of the rich, who do not pretend to whirl in the vor- 
tex of society, and it is largely observed among the various 
quiet, industrious, professional, laborious classes, as well 
as in cities and villages. American characteristic hos- 
pitality, as practised by single families and individuals, as 
well as by entire communities or associations, administer- 

Sucli hospitality among many other instances I have especially 
witnessed and experienced from C. C. Felton, professor in Cambridge, 
Mass. He counts among the most eminent scholars of this country, 
and could occupy a no less distinguished position for learning eveiy 
where in Europe ; as to hospitality, his is almost of the Homeric 



ing to the individual sufferings and wants of thousands 
and thousands brought to this country, — this hospitality 
equals, if it does not surpass, what in this way is accom- 
plished by any other nation. 

In cities as well as in the country, in streets as in the 
fields, in mansions as in cottages, in large or small gather- 
ings, the Americans show a different aspect and physiog- 
nomy from Europeans. Eather dusky than radiant, but 
rendered nervous by the struggle to enjoy naturally the 
moment, and by the fear of hurting imaginary propriety, 
they give the impression that they either do not care or 
do not understand how to win from life the cheerful, con- 
genial, exhilarating side. At such moments the pang 
of severe duty seems to furrow their brow, rarely and 
only occasionally irradiated with impulsive joyousness. 
The European masses, bending under heavy burdens, are 
more impulsive to merriment, than the far happier and 
more prosperous Americans. Glee smiles from under 
misery, and the Europeans are always ready to transform 
the minutes of respite into a gay repose. Song and dance 
are the friendly fairies of their toilsome existence. From 
North to South, from the Atlantic to the borders of Asia 
— when extreme misery has not dried out the last drops of 
vitality — the workshops of the operatives, the suburban 
streets and gardens, the farms and fields, at dawn and 
twilight, re-echo with national or love songs, peculiar to 
each country. As neither the lark nor the nightingale, 
so almost never human song resounds in American fields, 
gardens, or groves. Cheerfulness is a spontaneous impulse, 
is catching with Europeans of all classes. Americans — 
on the average — seem not to possess the rich gift of ex- 
temporizing pleasures. Their enjoyments must be pre- 
pared, deliberated, but do not flow from the drift of the 
moment. Dance is for them a study, instead of being a 



smiliDg attraction, an unconscious rapture. It reflects a 
mental sultriness, has the appearance of a nervous excite- 
ment, of a laborious muscular effort and task. Often 
likewise easy, cosy talk in their gatherings is superseded 
by speeches, by exertions to produce an effect, to bring- 
out themselves rather than to enliven, to charm their com- 
panions. The art or gift of conversation, so general in 
Europe, is not yet domesticated in America. 

Americans stand out the best in the simple domesti- 
city of family life. It is the only normal condition grow- 
ing out of their earliest traditions and habits ; it is their 
uninterrupted inheritance. The domestic hearth, the fam- 
ily joys and hardships must have formed almost the exclu- 
sive stimulus of existence, for the first settlers ; therein 
they concentrated all their affections and cares. Out-door 
variegated attractions, comparatively recent here, and pre- 
viously accidental, from time immemorial almost are in- 
nate to European life. Religious convictions, local im- 
possibility, the limited means of the colonies, prevented 
them at the outset and for a long time afterwards from re- 
curring to public joyful gatherings, from creating the like 
various pastimes and forming the habit and possessing out- 
door sociable attractions. The day spent in hard labor 
or in professional duties, was cheerfully ended in the fam- 
ily circle. Even now, notwithstanding the rapidly increas- 
ing wealth and expansion in large cities, out-door pleasures 
seem rather exotic to the American life. At any rate far 
more so in America than in Europe, the family hearth is 
about the only preventive against gross and often degra- 
ding recreations ; it alone assuages the tediousness and 
burdensomeness of existence even for the rich, who often 
find that it is almost easier to make a fortune than to know 
how to use and spend it. 

American homes are warmed by parental love The 



relations between parents and cMldren, harmonizing in 
their outward manifestations, with certain conditions and 
modes special to the development of American society, 
being misunderstood or not thoroughly examined by sev- 
eral European writers and visitors, have created the erro- 
neous opinion of the want of parental feeling. At the 
outside, however, the reverse is apparent ; less filial affec- 
tion, or at least a less demonstrative one from children 
towards parents, seems noticeable ; less so than is cus- 
tomary in Europe. Family ties seem to be looser, be- 
cause generally Americans bear small affection to the spot 
of their birth ; young members leave it or change with 
indifference, and parents do not make undue sacrifices to 
keep their children around them. Events providentially 
enforced upon Americans this unconcern, otherwise the 
task of extending culture and civilization would not have 
been fulfilled. Fortunes and means of existence were 
small among the settlers, but the space, the modes to win a 
position by labor were unlimited, and thus children began 
early to work and earn for themselves. Thus early they be- 
came self-relying and independent, and this independence 
continues to prevail in filial relations. Parents then, as 
now, worked hard and accumulated for their children. But 
the facility of early becoming artisans of their own des- 
tinies, of securing independence by labor, activity, and in- 
telligence, in times and conditions when no other pastimes 
were possible, matured and emancipated children from pa- 
rental authority and domestic discipline. For centuries 
and centuries in Europe, conditions, positions, occupations, 
pursuits, labors have been hereditary, families have been 
riveted to one spot ; generation after generation living in 
the same precincts of a wall, in view of the same parish 
spire, under the same roof, in the same workshop, labora- 
tory or study. G-eneration succeeded to generation, with 


out breaking the family group, witliout loosening the pa- 
rental discipline. American parents, allowing an almost 
unlimited choice to their children, spare nevertheless no 
hardships and pains to bring them up, and to educate them 
according to their conception of what is the best and the 
most useful for the mature duties of life. Parents love 
their children as dearly and intensely here as in Europe, 
but exercise less control, less authority. Further, in Eu- 
rope parents part with a share of their property, in order 
to facilitate, in various ways, the establishment of their 
children ; in America, where labor is the corner-stone of 
society, where originally the fortune of the parents was 
limited, but a boundless facility existed for every begin- 
ner to acquire one, parents could not endow their chil- 
dren. This wholesome habit being still common, is no evi- 
dence, however, of a want of parental love. 

American parents are far more forbearing, nay meeker 
with their children than are those in Europe. What here 
results from freedom or a yielding disposition, to the Eu- 
ropean comprehension appears as irreverence. A slight or 
no constraint is imposed upon children in America ; and 
as childhood — in virtue of a cardinal animal law — is emi- 
nently imitative, their good-breeding depends upon the 
bad or good examples which in various quarters are freely 
set before them. Children accustomed to the utmost fa- 
miliarity and absence of constraint with their parents, 
behave in the same manner with other older persons, and 
this sometimes deprives the social intercourse of Americans 
of the tint of politeness, which is more habitual in Europe. 

In America children generally lead and regulate their 
parents, in the choice of social intercourse, and in most of 
the relations and modes of life. Many are the reasons 
which account for this seeming anomaly. Nothing is tra- 
ditionary here, as in Europe, and still less so are posi- 



tions, luxury, refinement of habits and modes of existence 
in whole classes or single families ; parents, therefore, 
who started in life with small means — and such a start has 
always been common — acquired fortune, but had no time 
to acquire external refinement, to study and to master the 
conventional knowledge of society. They feel the defi- 
ciency, and to make it up they surround their children 
with all external signs of prosperity or wealth, and wish 
them to possess that art which they want themselves. 
Through and in the children parents enjoy wealth and 
standing, becoming thus docile to their impulsions or ad- 
vice. The simplicity, the frugality of the parents, contrasts 
often even disagreeably with the prodigality, the assump- 
tions, self-assertion, and conceit of the children. In Eu- 
ropean domestic life the children even of the highest aris- 
tocracy, are educated with more comparative simplicity 
than is the case in America. Parental authority extends 
over the grown up, and they always occupy the back- 
ground in all relations of conventional intercourse with 
society. In America, parents, as well as persons of mature 
age, are seemingly overruled by the younger generation. 
European youth of both sexes, of all social positions, 
from the wealthiest to the poorest, from kings, aristocrats, 
down to the lowest plebeians, in all feelings, emotions, as 
well as in worldly concerns, remain children longer than 
they do in America. Here they mingle with society, with 
life, almost from the swaddling clothes. And so young un- 
married girls give the tone to all those social gatherings, 
which in Europe are under the exclusive sway of married 
women, of matured men. The American custom and 
combination is more normal and natural in itself ; and it 
corresponds to that bourgeois construction of society, 
which lies at the bottom of the American social life. Of 
old, among the European bourgeoisie and the laboring 



classes, convivial gatherings had pre-eminently in view to 
amuse young people, to bring them together, to facilitate 
marriages. Those who have already made their choice 
and settled for life, abandon the gay foreground of the 
scene, to attend to more serious duties. Such was like- 
wise the social custom of the colonists, and such is that 
of their descendants. In abstract comprehension, dissi- 
pation and even the innocent admiration commonly paid 
to married women, and their forming the pivot of social 
whirling, are as many dissolving ferments of the actual 
state of society, wherein the unmarried girl is the natural 
centre of attraction, and one of its elementary and ce- 
menting forces. Gatherings organized in this manner 
lose, however, the charm depending upon the contact of 
various ages ; and youth, uncontrolled and paramount, be- 
comes regardless of the pleasure of others, pushing aside, 
and often, without the least restraint, whatever stands in 
its way. Society in America has thus a physiognomy of 
freshness, together with a tint of harshness — being in 
turn attractive and repulsive. 

Even in the serious decisions of life, children in Amer- 
ica enjoy a fulness of independence, not customary in Eu- 
rope. They make freely the choice of their intimacies, 
then of their church, of their politics, their husbands and 
wives. On the average far more marriages are contracted 
in America without the consent of parents, than in any of 
the European social classes. Aside from the prevailing 
looseness of what in European customs constitutes the 
parental authority, the facility with which one can create 
here for himself a position, and secure the material means 
of existence, makes the choice less dependent on parental 
will or advice. 

In the country, in villages or farming districts, mar- 
riages are contracted with less regard to fortune, than 


is the case among tlie richer portion of the inhabitants of 

In civilized, Christian nations, woman's influence is 
almost paramount on manners, habits, customs ; on their 
polish, refinement, gentleness ; on their interweaving and 
regulating social intercourse. Such influence is normal 
and natural ; it is in harmony with the pure manifestation 
of the human spirit, and of its creation-ordering laws. Man 
is the acting principle and force, woman the inspiring, 
quietly efficient and softening element, the ethereal aroma 
filling the space. Man and woman complete each other, 
perfect the creation in its material or animal, as in its 
spiritual and mental revelations. The faculties, passions, 
emotions of man and woman have one and the same focus 
and germ ; they are equivalent in principle and in origin. 
Their impressibility may be differently graduated, the in- 
tensity, expansion and power of mental perceptions and 
faculties become differently developed, urged, and uttered. 
The combination of these differences runs out into the 
harmonious accord of man and woman as mental creations, 
as the combination of various deep and high tones vibrate 
and dissolve into a musical harmony. Certain capacities 
may be more efficiently developed and salient in woman, 
others in man; these superiorities balanced against each 
other raise both to the same level. It is beyond contesta- 
tion that woman is endowed with a certain intuitive per- 
ception, with observation, penetration, and appreciation of 
various mental and psychological phenomena, differing, and 
in many respects superior for their acuteness and delicacy 
to that of man. As moral beings they are on an absolute 
equality. Nature alone has pointed out and defined cer- 
tain distinct functions for each, but again equal in both, 
and resulting in the harmonious and full combination of 
animal and of social, of intellectual as well as of material 



development and life. Those limits drawn by nature, 
constitute alone the apparent — not at all the essential — 
inferiority of woman ; beyond these, duties and rights are 
equal, and the right of woman to self-determination in no 
way in principle is inferior to that of man. To both ap- 
plies the same conception, comprehension, and scale of the 
moral and immoral, of right and wrong, of just and un- 
just, of allowed and forbidden, of legal and illegal, of in- 
dulged and condemned. Modifications, changes, and dif- 
ferent applications of those rules to the one, to the detri- 
ment of the other, are essentially unjust, and originate in 
abuse. Any such superiority apodictically asserted is 
illogical and abnormal. 

Psychological passional attractions combine and over- 
rule the relations between man and woman, wherein the 
purity of the woman exalts often and purifies the man. 
Where corruption gnaws, as a general rule the first sting, 
the first venom, the first dissolving shock, originated with 
man. In the present prevailing social structure, based 
exclusively on family, woman, as wife, mother, or sister, is 
the hearth-stone, woman is the sacred fire, projecting 
warmth and charm over the inner sanctuary. 

In the social combination of America, woman as wo- 
man, independently of any social, conventional distinctions 
of wealth or poverty, independently of personal attrac- 
tions, is surrounded with more considerate and respectful 
deference than was ever the case in Europe. The source 
of this feeling may be either pure and psychological, or 
wholly material. It may have been that the scarcity of 
women among the first settlers, and their thereby enhanced 
moral and material value, or the loneliness of the existence 
of isolated colonists, made dearer to them their delicate, and 
in their condition specially life-cheering companions. But 
whatever may have been the priuiordial reason of this re- 


spect paid to women, it softens and dissolves many asper- 
ities in the habits of men, and evidences a higher general 
tone of civilization. In all social, domestic relations and 
combinations, the vroman in America moves in an atmos- 
phere under certain aspects more elevated and tender, than 
she does in many corresponding relations in Europe. In 
the American villages and farms, even among the poorest 
laborers and vforkmen, woman is emancipated from the 
field or garden labor, as well as from any outdoor toiling 
in husbandry ; while in Europe generally she shares all 
the heaviest burdens of labor, exposure, and hardships. 
Those relative conditions prove at any rate a more elevat- 
ed degree of refinement in the domesticity of Americans, 
than prevails among European masses. For centuries of 
serfdom and degradation, the man as well as woman of the 
people were dragging the same yoke, toiled for the master, 
as do the slaves in the South. Serfdom and statute-labor 
disappeared, but in the small households woman's field-labor 
still remained one of the pivotal forces of husbandry ; and, 
lashed by poverty, she toils as hard now as she did of old. 
In the American city life, the marketing, the providing 
for the wants and necessities of the household, is generally 
within the range of man's domestic duties, while in Europe 
these cares devolve generally on the wives of artisans, 
merchants, tradesmen, officials, and on those of all kinds 
of professional men. Only wealth and elevated social po- 
sition exempts the wife from the fulfilment or superintend- 
ence of this domestic duty, and throws it into the hands 
of menials. 

The external physical appearance of the mass of Amer- 
ican women, evinces a prevalence of feminine beauty, but 
likewise evinces a kind of democratic standard salient in 
the comparison which may be made with Europe. In 
the mass, the Americans look is neater, handsomer, and. 


in all conditions, of a less decided ugliness, than those 
on the other side of the ocean. But, likewise, it is diffi- 
cult to find out in this mass those classical, perfect beau- 
ties, pure, symmetrical, in all their traits, members and 
proportions, expressive of inner emotions and of phj'sical 
perfection. Such women are encountered in every Euro- 
pean nation, in almost all numerous gatherings, either of 
the higher or lower classes. Europe abounds and runs 
out into the two extremes ; between them stands the ave- 
rage of American women. 

Rigidity, constraint, even to stiffness, a certain g^ne 
or nervousness, are the more prevailing external aspects 
of the American women, than the easy, unconcerned grace 
peculiar to the women of the Old World, of Europe as 
well as of Asia. The American woman has the appear- 
ance of coldness, founded in notions, principles, as well as 
in the temperament ; she seems not to be exposed to the 
ebullitions of blood, to those violent emotions common to 
the women of the Old World, in all nations and latitudes, in 
all conditions, in palaces and huts, in cities and villages, 
ebullitions rendering them volcanic and passionate. The 
American and the European women are daughters of the 
same moral. Christian, social creed and conceptions. The 
same principles of morality and duty are instilled into the 
one and the other, v/ith equal purity, with equal intensity. 
But numberless mental and physical temptations, mostly 
here unknown, unwonted, or only in the bud, are thickly 
strewn on the path of women in Europe, inflaming the air 
in which they move, which they breathe. There and here 
social verdicts originate in like purity of conceptions and 
convictions, being however at times more forbearing, more 
indulgent, in the elastic Europe, than in the more inflexi-- 
ble America. In virtue of the democratic essence perme- 
ating society here, nobody with impunity can offend the 



public sentiment, or stand so high as to almost force on 
society at large his bad example. The contrary is the 
case in Europe, divided for centuries into summit and 
plains. Torrents descending from elevations overflow and 
carry away low grounds. Finally the climate affects the 
senses differently, it is supposed, in the New and in the 
Old World. These may be the cardinal reasons that the 
American woman is not often thus exalted passionately to 
that extent as to overstep the limits traced by the social 
comprehension of morality. In general she is, therefore, 
a surer guardian of the domestic hearth and of its purity, 
than is in many cases the European, surrounded by inner 
and outer urgings and temptations, with inflammable 
blood, with burning heart and soul. The European wo- 
man errs and falls, but often likewise she glowingly re- 
deems her fall by the heroism of love, devotion, and expi- 
ation. Yanity, curiosity, idleness and unrest, are among 
the salient tempters which often carry away and destroy the 
American woman ; but the tragedy of passion glides rather 
along her breast, of passion raging, tearing, and consuming 
the existence of Europeans. 

The intellectual education of the American woman, 
especially in the Free States, averages a higher degree 
than in Europe, even in countries considered as foremost 
in civilization. The girls participate in all the blessings 
of the common public schools, and in all the establishments 
of education scattered broadcast over the free country. 
The culture of the mind is superior and more generally 
diffused among women than it is on the average among 
men. The majority of them devoting themselves early in 
life to practical pursuits, as operatives, artisans, farmers, 
laborers, merchants, etc., find their time wholly absorbed, 
and lose often the scent of study; while the women, as 
wives and girls, have comparatively more time to devote 


to study, to nurse and entertain the germs laid down in 
their minds in the schools. Lecture-rooms in cities and 
in villages are generally more thickly filled by women than 
by men. American women, as was pointed out in another 
chapter, form the numerous tender and devoted class of 
elementary teachers ; they largely participate in the lite- 
rary movement. They are distinguished by the highest 
accomplishments of soul and mind, in learning, poetry, 
art. So the powerful authoress of " Passion Flowers," * 
by her philosophical as well as poetical spirit ; so the 
lofty, genial, soul-teeming, dramatic artist, Matilda Heron. 
Scattered throughout all positions of American society, are 
women who are models of intellectual clearness and sound- 
ness, of gentleness of heart and manner. Women take an 
elevated, noble, large view, and a warm, intense interest in 
all social questions. Any reform for the better enlists 
them on its side. Temperance, anti-slavery, every cause 
of liberty and humanity, is enthusiastically countenanced 
by them. If legally, directly they do not bear on the 
like questions, their influence as wives, mothers, sisters, 
and beloved, is powerful, and almost always elevating, 
ennobling to the man. Public opinion, if not the law, the 
social habits surrounding women with truer and more re- 
spectful deference than in Europe, accords them more 
space, liberty, and a larger part in all serious aspects of 
life. And generally, public opinion, in all its bearings, 
when duly comprehended and appreciated, is neither con- 
tracted, oppressive nor tyrannical here. It expands as does 
the boundless space, as does the inexhaustible principle of 
free development of individuality almost unrestrained 
here, and paramount to all mental and social considera- 
tions. Only public opinion must not be confused and 
lowered to the puny verdicts of small coteries or cliques, 
* Mrs. Julia Howe. 



jealous, narrow or envious, pressing hardly on the weak- 
minded, but harmless, and vanishing before the self-rely- 

In the immense majority of American women, when not 
marred — as is the case in certain positions — by attempts at 
a kind of shabby genteel notions, the genial soul-life breaks 
mightily through the apparently inflexible crust, spreads 
over the surface, giving a soft tone and expression to man- 
ners, ideas, and conventionalities. Then in them, as in all 
truly highbred natural European women, the contrast be- 
tween innocence and prudery, between genuine inborn gen 
tleness of manners and affected composure, is preemi- 
nently discernible. When not laboring under efforts at 
representation, when truly and frankly natural, either as 
the devoted wife and mother, or as the independent, self- 
confident, and in her purity and innocence, proud girl, the 
American w^oman is hearty, simple, affectionate; her im- 
pulses are generous, spreading amenity over conventional 
intercourse and relations. The normal state, the pedestal, 
the frame wherein the American woman of every social 
position, rich or poor, stands out the best, is the simple 
informal intercourse, more than representation, or the tak- 
ing of postures or airs, be it in gaudy crowded saloons, 
in luxurious boudoirs, in country life, or in the simple 

Among all classes of society, and preeminently among 
women, considerable confusion seems to prevail in often 
mistaking the conventional ladylike manner for true genu- 
ine womanhood. The word lady is all-powerful, and all- 
powerfuUy used and misused in America. It is applied 
not to mark a certain distinct position, but extends to mor- 
als, character, dress, behavior, occupation, pleasures. It 
has almost superseded the use, the signification of the word 
woman. In its thus generalized sense, it is applied with 


equal right and logic in the parlor as in the kitchen, in the 
mansion as on the farm, to the luxurious and the idle, as to 
the laborious and the plain. But by its shabby genteel 
sense, this lady and ladylike character stands often in the 
way of truthfulness and nature, stands in the way even of 
accomplishing many social, conventional, as well as real 
duties,* besides generating shams, affectations, and all kinds 
of spurious displays, defacing genuine reality. It is as an 
acid, destroying the suave perfume of ingenuousness, dis- 
coloring the freshest tints of a richly blossoming flower. 
The misuse overflows all the strata, and spreads even in 
literature,! while the word gentlewoman^ the noblest in 
the English language, and unequalled in any other, resum- 
ing all the purest qualities of the soul, of the heart, com- 
bining them harmoniously with external gentleness of de- 
meanor, is unheard in conversation, and has scarcely pene- 
trated into literature- 
Artificiality, internal or external, in notions or in half- 
formed manners, stiffness denoting or covering mostly frag- 
mentary crumbs of breeding, lame imitations, make not a 
woman, not even a lady. The best manners are simple, 
not attracting notice, not striking by any extreme, High- 

* A farmer in New England, questioned by me about the number 
of cows kept on his farm, answered, that he could keep twice as 
many, but that his ladies (wife and daughters) objected to it on ac- 
count of the increased work in the dairy. I could not abstain from 
saying, that he would be better off if he had in his family true wo- 
men, instead of ladies. 

t Even Motley in his history could not avoid the contagion. In 
relating the defence of a small Dutch city besieged by the Spaniards, 
he extols the devotion, the sacrifices made by the ladies. Who ever 
used this word speaking of the women of Carthage, Numanea, Sara- 
gossa, etc. ? Or who will speak of Imogen, Portia, Desdemona, Ju- 
liette, Rosalinda, or even of lady Macbeth, as of the ladies of Shak- 
speare ? 



toned, well-bred, elegantly accomplislied women are not 
stylish, have no style at all. Stylish looking^ an appella- 
tion profusely applied in America, would be considered 
the poorest compliment, if not an offence, in Europe. 

The scrupulous observance of rites regulating social 
courtesy, their exchange, and that of these unavoidable 
conventionalities, cementing, facilitating, and smoothing 
daily intercourse between individuals as well as between 
families, not only in relations between equal, but between 
most distant and distinct positions ; all these in Europe 
are generally watched over, directed, and maintained by 
the man. Acting and representing the head of the fam- 
ily, as husband or father, it belongs to him to give the ex- 
ample, to him the prize for urbanity, for good breeding, to 
him the blame for omissions, lesions, deviations from or 
breach of established, and in their nature, easy and elastic 
rules. Almost as generally the contrary is the case in 
America. The wife, the mother, often advised by chil- 
dren, is the mainspring, the anima movens, of all socia- 
bility. She is the arch on which the law reposes, and on 
her depends its fulfilment. The husband, the father, acts 
under her advice ; he is the deacon where she is the high- 
priest. The woman, wife, mother, or even daughter, ex- 
ercise in all these worldly relations an omnipotence and 
latitude nowhere conceded to them in Europe. The wo- 
man, therefore, in America, and more preeminently than 
in Europe, constitutes the charm, the attraction of socia- 
bility, animates, sustains integrally its current. To her 
the incense and tribute, but with her likewise the respon- 
sibility when the charm is dispelled, rites omitted, cour- 
tesy ruffled and bruised, and intercourse rendered knobby 
and unattractive. 





In America, the country and city as constituent social, 
political elements and agencies, stand in an inverse rela- 
tion to each other from that in which they stood in the 
ancient and in the European world. Their respective sig- 
nifications are different, and the difference runs through 
almost all the fibres of their multiform development, is 
visible in all the lights and shadows of general, political, 
social, as well as of domestic life and intercourse. Coun- 
try and city in the greater part of their mutual relations 
aflect and react on each other by different currents from 
those in the Old World, and are to be judged and appre- 
ciated by new and original criteria. 

The ancient world was essentially municipal in all its 
social, political, legislative, and governmental structure. 
It was so, taking the world in its original, strictest, Ro- 
man or Latin sense. Within the walls of the city was 
concentrated the whole human multifarious development 
and movement. Light, culture, civil and political rights, 
were embodied in the cities, or intrinsically depended on 
them. Without its walls, the space was a social vacuum, 
life in all its humane elevated manifestations evolving from 
the city. The society which emerged out of the ruins of 
the Roman world changed integrally at the start its 



social pivot, transferring power in all its character and 
ramifications to the independent nobility and knighthood, 
scattered over the country ; but this was another feature 
of privileges enjoyed comparatively by few who were 
masters of the whole land, and of the, in all respects, dis» 
franchised masses. Soon, however, the city, by various 
means, either as the residence of royalty, as the capital of 
the State, as one of the powerful compartments in the feu- 
dal edifice ; as the creator and agent of culture, industry, 
and commerce, and by numerous other ways, the city re- 
covered its signification, acquired rights, stood next to and 
rivalled the nobility, and in several cases absorbed it. 
Amidst all these changes and fluctuations, no country ex- 
isted, politically or socially, with free self-asserting popu- 
lations, with equal rights to all other portions of the na- 
tion. America inaugurated such a one. The country and 
its inhabitants are on an absolute parity here with the 
city. The relations between the one and the other depend 
on free intercourse and attractions, they result from the 
nature of things, from their respective as well as their 
relative occupations. Uninterrupted but free currents 
circulate between city and country, carrying and exchang- 
ing forces and products, and combining production and 

Democracy, decentralization, emancipated man, space, 
localities, have created those new and equal relations, for- 
merly unknown in Europe. In various preceding chapters 
have been pointed out the preeminent features and influ- 
ences which constitute the difi"erence between the Euro- 
pean and American cities, principally of capitals, their 
difi"erent action on the country, as civilizing, as political 
or governmental agencies. No such distance separates 
country and city in America as existed and partly now 
exists in Europe, stamping the one with real or conven- 



tional inferiority in comparison with the other. No city, 
as was always the case among the European nations, rises 
above the country, or impresses upon it its own stamp, in 
language, manners, customs, habits, notions, conceptions, 
impulses, aspirations. No positive relations constitute a 
capital and a province, making the one wholly dependent 
on the other — no social provincialism in reality lowers 
the country in comparison with a large city. 
• The apparent social superiority of any American com- 
mercial metropolis consists more especially in a certain ex- 
ternal, material perfection and polish, a result of the accu- 
mulation of wealth and capital, facilitating and stimulating 
acquisition, continual renovation, or imitation of foreign 
models. The extensive trade, the uninterrupted move- 
ment- creating intercourse with foreign and distant regions, 
brings into exchange their various creations, and the cities 
are the first to assimilate and to transmit them to the 
country. But they do not acquire thereby any supremacy 
similar to that of European capitals. The American me- 
tropolises act rather as mediators towards the country, 
mediators between the foreign and the domestic. The 
commercial cities are no foci or exclusive depositaries 
of light and culture, where from those elements radiate and 
spread over the country ; nor are they types — as are the 
capitals in Europe, with royalty, nobility, and concentra- 
tion as well of wealth and of culture — after which the in- 
tellectual, moral, and material life, and the modes, the 
refinement, and tastes of the country at large are exclu- 
sively developed and fashioned. Therefore provincialism, 
in its extensive and manifold meaning, does not charac- 
terize the stand-point of the country, in relation to the city 
or capital, as it does in Europe. 

The city of Boston alone possesses a certain tradition 
of supremacy, of a similar kind. This was once real in 



many and various aspects. Boston, for a long time, was 
the real capital of a State, and the mental one of all New 
England, of whose wide expanding character Boston was 
partly the generator, partly the exponent, and has thus, in 
many ways, marked and influenced the North, its develop- 
ment, and the history of the Union, Now, however, the 
spirit which animates New England has risen above that 
of the city, which has seemingly lost much of its ancient 
influence and leadership. Nevertheless, Boston is still, to 
a certain extent, the centre, and radiates still the charac- 
ter, the convictions, the spirit, and the peculiarities of the 
surrounding country. Philadelphia never impressed deeply 
on Pennsylvania the character, the convictions of her found- 
ers — the peace-loving, rational, and discreet Quakers ; and 
it does so still less now, when that spirit has almost wholly 
disappeared from her social character. New York like- 
wise does not mirror the character of its own State ; and, 
with all its real, assumed, or conceded pre-eminences. New 
York is no more exclusively a heart of the country, of its 
multifarious and energetic vitality, than are the other large 

Commercial concentration and supremacy do not be- 
stow on American commercial cities a paramount position, 
a regulating power over all social and political relations ; 
and no comparisons in this respect can be established be- 
tween them and certain historical cities of Europe. 

The great Italian cities, Venice, Pisa, Genoa, Florence, 
and many others, were independent sovereignties ; their 
leading inhabitants, a part of their populations, were real 
sovereigns, legislating and acting for themselves, aside from 
being merchants, or industrials. Many of the leading fami- 
lies belonged by birth and tradition to the feudal nobility, 
and were depositaries of real power. For all these reasons 
the name of merchant-prince was bestowed on them. Like- 



wise some among the foremost German Hanseatic towna 
were sovereigns. At one time, Lubeck was the most 
powerful state on the Baltic shores, warring, making trea- 
ties, influencing the destinies and the Governments of 
Sweden, Denmark, and of some smaller German princi- 
palities. The American commercial metropolises^ what- 
ever may be their expansion, and the influence derived 
from commerce and wealth, in all other aspects are de- 
pendencies of their respective States. If comparisons are 
to be established, then, for example, New York cannot be 
compared in a social, political, or any conventional point 
of view, with London, or Paris, etc., nor even with any 
of the capitals of the second order. It cannot be compared, 
in that respect, with the past condition of Italian cities, or 
the few towns of the Hanseatic League. 

The city of New York acquires and extends daily a 
commercial signification and influence, which make her al- 
ready the commercial metropolis of this part of the globe. 
Under this cardinal, as under several secondary and col- 
lateral aspects. New York, in character, in resources, in 
original, as well as in the alluvial elements of its popula- 
tion, which is eminently cross-bred from all nations and 
states, in its ways and means of activity, in the variety of 
its small and great combinations and features. New York 
eminently differs from the commercial metropolises of an- 
cient and modern times. New York is a world in itself, 
with numberless small circles, with elevations and depres- 
sions, constituting its distinct and special features. By 
its population. New York occupies the third place among 
the cities in the Christian world. Its commerce expands 
over the globe, its own capital, or that attracted by its me- 
diation, is felt in all the arteries between the Atlantic and 
the Pacific. Nearly all its outward outlines and tenden- 
cies are broad and public-minded ; they denote greatness in 



tlie aggregate, and nevertheless New York is eminently 
provincial in all social aspects, when compared to Euro- 
pean capitals. The most diversified extremes meet in New 
York. Gigantic in its commercial and industrial pur- 
suits, and in all relations depending thereon, and stamped 
by littleness in most of its daily and life-interweaving con- 
ventionalities, relations, intercourse ; full of the genuine 
democratic essence, at the side of an equally strong sham 
one, and with some of its crusts agitated by the most con- 
vulsive attempts at forming an embryonic aristocracy; 
sound, as well as even febrile activity, parallel with 
stupidity and stagnation ; light pouring out in streams 
from the press, from the more or less perfect scientific, 
literary, and educational establishments, and dark mental 
shadows overhanging summits and lowlands. A vigorous, 
rapid, often reckless run onwards, and a very strong retro- 
grading tendency ; all-embracing in trade and speculation, 
and in social relations cut up into sets, separated into parcels 
by the most artificial notions. Nowhere, even in any second 
and third rate capital of Europe, has society the aspect of 
falling into so many various, puny, parishional distinctions. 
An agglomeration of social offal, flowing in from almost all 
parts and races of the globe ; then a genuine, large, sound, 
substantial, intelligent, active population ; forming a com- 
pact substratum, on whose surface rise and swim, in shape, 
character, tone, and color, the most curious, socially-artifi- 
cial efflorescences. Many others are the contrasts within 
the city itself, and in its relations to the country. 

In the commercial cities of the Free States, attempts 
are made at establishing a kind of conventional, artificial, 
parlor, and church-pew aristocracy, at imitating the aris- 
tocratic demeanor, at borrowing from Europe, and becom- 
ing tamed by petty aristocratic notions. The disease 
catches not, however, the sound substratum of the same 



cities, nor the country, in its broadest sense. Such at- 
tempts, insignificant and valueless, would scarcely deserve 
to be noticed, but for their completing the salient features 
of difference between the old and the new, between Amer- 
ica and Europe ; for their contributing to elucidate the 
soundness of the democratic essence, deeply and thoroughly 
penetrating the country ; and finally, because by their mi- 
rage those aristocratic shams sometimes mislead in the ap- 
preciation of the intrinsic worth of American society. 

Aristocracy, as a conception or as a social fact, wraps 
itself generally in the prestige of past grandeur. An- 
cient families live on traditions and recollections of na- 
tional, as well as of domestic greatness ; on those of power 
and influence exercised over the nation, the society, and 
transmitted, inherited, from generation to generation. De- 
scendants are proud of their ancestors, and consider them 
as superior beings They do not blush for nor disavow 
the occupations, the pursuits of their forefathers. With 
the exception of a few well-known families of historical 
revolutionary renown, some few others descending from 
officials of the colonial times, and still fewer of a wholly for- 
tuitous, or rather conventionally conceded distinction, the 
pretenders to aristocracy in the American society descend, 
in an overpowering majority, from originally poor but hon- 
orable traffickers, artisans, farmers, or professional men. 
Noblesse oblige was the device of the ancient nobility all 
over Europe. It obliged to imitate the gallantry, the no- 
ble deeds of ancestors. The American aristocrats might 
imitate theirs in simplicity of manners, soundness of sense, 
and the absence of conceited assumption. In reading the 
names in the cemetery of a New England or any other an- 
cient inland village, or even the sign-boards over the stores, 
or the shops of artificers, of country-towns, almost all the 
names will be found which, from one end to the other of the 



republic, resound in trade, politics, literature ; wliicli occupy 
the various leading positions in every commercial metropo- 
lis ; all this bearing testimony to the humble and equal 
beginning of all the families. Alike humble but honorable 
was the origin of the American descendants of the Hugue- 
nots. Very few, if any, French nobles emigrated to the 
Carolinas in the 16th century, during the reign of the Ya- 
lois. It was mostly artisans, small traders, operatives, 
whom Coligny directed to America. The nobles remained 
at home to fight the battles of the reformation. Not one 
of the aristocrats of America, who does not believe him- 
self superior to his fishing, trading, farming, hard-toiling 
ancestry, whose start was small, and so were the modes of 
life, the houses, and households, and the trade. Such was 
the condition of the Puritans, Planters, Quakers, Knicker- 
bockers. New Amsterdam was comparatively a small, un- 
influential, trafficking spot. Mostly poor people from 
Holland, among them Hebrews, emigrated to America in 
the 17th century, and have been the primitive founders 
of the Knickerbockers.* The new men and families whom, 
for example, the Knickerbockers, the descendants of the 
Quakers in Philadelphia, or the Bostonians, Baltimoreans, 

* The descendants — now aristocracized — of those primitive set- 
tlers and seekers of fortune possess a rare inventive power. One of 
them, whose grandfather's land in the suburhs of New York, occupied 
as a gardener, where is now one of the most aristocratic avenues, told 
me that the founder of his lineage on this continent was heir to a 
dukedom in Holland ; but an uncle and tutor of his, likewise a sove- 
reign duke, seized the heirdom and sent the youth to the American 
colony. The narrator forgot that no such family name is to be found 
among the feudal records of Holland, and that feudalism was over- 
thrown in the 17th century, and such highhanded and treacherous 
proceedings almost impossible in Holland, or at least would have been 
mentioned in her history. Others tell stories even more improbable, 
about their Dutch, Scotch, English, Irish, etc., illustrious origin. 



and other like parishioners, consider as not up to them, 
started from the same point as did the sires of the others. 
The difference is not in the nature of their pursuits, not in 
the ways and means by which positions have been acquired 
then and now, but exclusively in chronology. The new 
families and men carry on a more extensive business, have 
a larger and more comprehensive range of notions, live in 
larger, more comfortable and elegant houses, and larger 
households and retinue surround them than did the old 
citizens ; the new have equal or more culture, polish, and 
more means to procure it, than had the old city-founders 
and parishioners. The puny spirit of provincialism, of pa- 
rish distinctions, is nursed, entertained, by all these petty 
assumptions, whatever might be their origin and their name. 
Provincialism is their principal inheritance. The so-called 
old families give the character of littleness, which is so 
salient in the social relations and intercourse of what is 
styled the " best " society of American commercial cities. 
Little, if any, difference in good-breeding is to be detected 
between the " good," the " best," the " exclusive," or with 
whatever else denomination the tenants of an imaginary su- 
periority try to distinguish themselves, and what they call 
the new men and families, on whom they look down and 
try to keep them at bay. The difference, if existing, is not 
always and altogether on the side of the " best," cluster- 
ing as representatives, and forming the ornamental portion 
of the conventional social structure, as it does the highest 
society in every European capital. At the side of these 
" aristocratic " and " choicest " in America, exist families 
of deserved consideration, forming smaller groups, enjoying 
quietly and substantially their wealth ; intelligent, natural, 
unassuming, and thus attractive and inoffensive. Among 
those, as well as in general in the country, are to be found 
real distinction, ease, gentleness of feelings, simplicity in 



demeanor, constituting genuine good-breeding, and exten- 
sive and various information. Even good blood — that 
aristocratic criterion — and often spoken of in America, 
good blood — if it should be noticed — runs purer in the 
country than among the " best " of the metropolis. Aris- 
tocracy has not generally originated in stores, counters, or 
in the gutters of cities. European aristocracies never had, 
and have not now, their roots in cities, not even in capitals, 
but in the country ; and the high society in Europe is such 
in reality, forming the apex of special but real rights and 
privileges, of power, of abuses and prejudices, out of which 
is built up the European social edifice. As no such clear 
distinct landmarks exist here, artificial ones are created out 
of thousands of ridiculous imaginary distinctions, based on 
or deduced from the kind or nature of the commercial or 
industrial undertaking, pursuit, or trade; definitions and 
distinctions — in their hair-splitting, niceties — mostly unin- 
telligible to the ritualists and expounders themselves. 

The noblest feature of a genuine aristocrat is, that, 
proud of his individual dignity, his birth, and blood, he 
feels himself no more honored by contact with royalty, 
than he is compromised in his standing and dignity by 
contact with the poorest laborer. But the American imi- 
tators, surrounding themselves with whimsical fences, are 
continually on the alert, nervous about not losing their 
respectability ; true imitators therein of English snobbism. 
From behind those strongholds, they defend jealously and 
spasmodically their assumed positions, dreading the ap- 
proach of any new face, always on the defensive against 
new-comers, intruders. All this contracts, narrows the 
social intercourse, makes it uneasy ; it contracts the minds 
of those living under the like misconceived and trying 
conditions. All of them vegetate mentally on personali- 
ties and petty interests. Wide-reaching, general events 



and objects, agitate and engross not these circles, as is the 
case in European high society. Even a third-rate capi- 
tal or watering-place of Europe is superior in this as- 
pect to any set of the " best," the " purest," the " choi- 
cest," here. Literature, arts, political problems, solutions 
agitating the state, the country, all events calling or con- 
centrating attention, are more vividly felt and spoken of 
by men and women in the country, and in the cities, by 
those groups not claiming aristocratical distinction, the 
sets of the " best " exercising none, or, at the utmost, very 
insignificant influence on the public judgment and opinion. 

This, in many respects, abnormal and unnatural social 
confusion, perverts, nay caricatures relations, which other- 
wise might be large, expansive, and truly high-toned. So 
the wealthy merchant, who, in his business place is all- 
embracing, public-minded, generous, and expanding, con- 
tracts and narrows as soon as he returns into the region 
of his daily social intercourse. The merchant princes of 
Italy, were as large-minded in sociability as in their 
commercial or political combinations, conceptions, actions. 
The merchant princes considered it as the greatest honor 
to throw their palaces open and fill them with scholars, 
artists, literators ; with men of intellectual standing and 
distinction, of whatever kind and nature, they rivalled 
each other in attracting such guests. No merchant prince 
of an American metropolis or any of the " bests " is at- 
tracted, or finds enjoyment in the like associations. And, 
should it ever be so, he or his family would not dare 
to imitate the Italian and European models, and break 
through or overstep the range of puny notions, to risk 
artificial respectability, and undergo the disapprobation of 
the little world around them, and in which everybody 
looks up continually to somebody else. 

In Boston, however, social relations, courtet^ics, and con- 



siderations are, at times, regulated by deference to mental 
and intellectual worth : above all when political preju- 
dices, passions, or even hatred, do not cloud the sound 
sense of those who constitute the upper social circles. 

Not the aristocracy of these cities, but those moving 
without its dwarfish orbits, and above all the inhabitants 
of the country, from one end to the other, and belonging 
to all conditions, render homage to mental power and dis- 
tinction. The literator, the poet, the artist, the savant, 
is always surrounded in the country, in towns, villages, 
with consideration, excites, attracts interest, and deferen- 
tial curiosity, while the nabob, who throws into nervous ex- 
citement the " best " in the metropolis will remain unno- 
ticed. The same " best " circles of the commercial me- 
tropolis preserve and nurse still the feeling of colonial in- 
feriority towards England — a feeling which does not in 
the least exist in the country. An occasional arrival of a 
Lord, of any Englishman of note,* and often of one who 
in his own land had not even a glimpse at society, will 
throw the " best " into a state of ecstatic excitement ; 
while the inhabitants of the country remain unconcerned 

Such a development of the social relations of a portion 
of American society is the more to be regretted, because the 

* During the last misunderstanding with England on account of 
the fisheries, one of the members of the house of Baring Brothers, 
from London, visited America. The excitement among the " best " 
was intense, as nearly all the commercial houses in America depend 
upon the credit of the London banker. In Boston, in public speeches 
the office of a diplomatic, high, and confidential mission, was attributed 
to the traveller, who, by his sensible conduct, gave no occasion to so 
much imaginary distinction, and declined all such allusions and 
honors. The sensible people in cities and the country kept perfectly 
cool, quiet, and unconcerned. Such, or similar occurrences, are re- 
peated again and again. 



same man and woman who are spasmodic wiien in their 
aristocratic toga, are pleasant, easy, sociable, when they 
lay it aside. Then they are susceptible and accessible to 
all the generous impulses of the people. The aristocrat- 
ical imitation is the shadowy side of the character in the 
daily relations and social intercourse. The radiating side 
shines when the same people are seen in their true Amer- 
ican nature. Thus, for example, a woman, a girl, ridicu- 
lously fastidious, affected, and therefore highly aristocrat- 
ical in her own estimation, in the evening, has sometimes 
spent the morning nobly in teaching, superintending some 
ragged school, or in some charitable and humane occupa- 
tion of the kind. Nevertheless, the vanity and affectation 
which infect those regions seems to spread in wider and 
wider circles, penetrates deeper to the core. It begins to 
operate on the infancy. Thus children get old, withered, 
and distorted notions in their little heads. Thus early 
in youth ingenuousness is nipped in the bud, and the germ 
of gentleness tarnished if not wholly destroyed. 

The country is little or not at all exposed to such like 
aberrations and deviations. Assumption and aristocratic 
attempts are difficult, and cannot find there a propitious 
soil. In the country, the normal elements of American 
society are purer, and have an easier and simpler action. 
Families, occupations, are all honorable — groupings by 
sets difficult. All are equal and independent in their 
contact, in their relations. The cities draw from the 
country nearly all the elements of real or fancied suprem- 
acy. The country and not generally the cities, and still 
less their various " sets," bring forth those vigorous minds, 
which in literature, in trade, in industry, in politics, in 
the press, in professional or commercial pursuits, marks, 
develops, and expands the destinies of America. 

Among tlie conspicuous American cities, the city of 



Washington has the purest and broadest national, distinct 
American character. Not being commercial or industrial, 
it does not possess large wealth, and wealth is not an in- 
fluential or swaying social ingredient there. Neither has 
Washington the relation to the country in which stand the 
respective capitals in centralized Europe. Washington, 
however, truly and largely reflects the democratic element 
of America— the democratic character of the people, of 
the institutions, and the essence of democratic urbanity. 
Social relations and intercourse are regulated and depend 
mostly upon the intrinsic value of man, or upon what as 
such, is conceded or recognized to the individual. Neither 
wealth nor any fictitious assumption or arrogant claims of 
superiority of blood or birth, are omnipotent or influential. 
Not these give the tone to society, and no local petty in- 
fluences direct it. Men coming from all parts of the re- 
public, independent and equal to each other in their pub- 
lic character, give and preserve to society the broad 
republican features and space wherein every one moves 
freely and finds his absolute or at least his relative appre- 
ciation. Politics being the cardinal element, the eminent 
political leaders form of course the cardinal points of 
attraction. Such leadership, from whatever light it may 
be considered, is always an evidence of certain individual 
superiority and ability. A man of learning, a literator, 
known in any way by his mental and intellectual accom- 
plishments, an artist, will be met with more courtesy in 
Washington than the man of wealth, who shakes the ex- 
changes of the commercial metropolis, or the leaders of 
their " best," " purest," and most " exquisite " sets. Gror- 
geous display is valued at its worth, imposes not oppres- 
singly on relations and intercourse, and these, in general, 
are easy, elastic, and with a tint of more genuine refinement 
and better toned than in any other American society. The 



conversational topics are diversified on account of the va- 
riety of interests, notions, compreliensions, meeting, cross- 
ing, or running, agitating, at the side of each other. 
Courtesy, inborn or conventional, must prevail, resulting 
from the relations of mutual independence between the 
legislators and the administration, and from the broad 
basis on which a society so variously composed, stands 
and moves. 

Of late, savage violence has stained bloodily and darkly 
the social relations in Washington. The disgrace came 
from and attaches to that part of the republic in which a 
perverted social order perverts public opinion, generates a 
political fury, superseding culture, civility, and self-re- 
spect by the ferocious self-will of the individual. Such 
occurrences cannot in justice be considered as the true ex- 
ponents of the social tone in this political and eminently 
American metropolis. 

As the large commercial cities do not exercise a social 
or conventional supremacy, or affect in such aspects the 
tone of the country, in the same way they are not the 
fair exponents or reflections of the prevailing morals- 
Cities, always and every where, contain inducements, ex- 
citements, to moral degradation, corruption, dissipation and 
dissoluteness, and the American cities do not differ much 
in that respect from those of Europe. The country alone 
in many respects has hitherto preserved a superiority over 
the prevailing morals throughout Europe. 

Where the democratic principle is playing in its ful- 
ness, America generally outshines Europe in culture, man- 
ners, good-breeding, mental superiority. The country, 
with its towns and villages, and with the laborious, enter- 
prising, intelligent and self-improving population, the 
sound substratum in the cities constitute integrally the 
higlier development by which the scales of comparison 



turn in favor of America. The attempts made by certain 
portions of society to secede from the normal American 
element and spirit, to assimilate themselves, to imitate in 
various ways European aristocracies, are altogether abor- 
tions. Such copies are mostly inferior to the originals, and 
notwithstanding their wealth or superficial varnish, they 
are thoroughly inferior to the mass of the American peo- 
ple. Undoubtedly this mass possesses more varied culture 
of mind, more true refinement than those social efflores- 
cences. Undoubtedly likewise, the European aristocracy, 
together with all its ramifications, embracing the official, 
financial, commercial, and industrial highest classes, is su- 
perior in mind, in scientific and literary information, as 
well as in exquisiteness of manners to its American imi- 

In the masses, and therefore principally in the coun- 
try, are salient the luminous and all-embracing results of 
American civilization, while in Europe hitherto only cer- 
tain classes, and generally the cities constitute the civilized 
aggregate. The decline of American culture and social 
progress, with all its mental, moral, and material features, 
will begin when the interests of the city and country, in- 
stead of harmonizing, shall be at variance; when the 
country shall be sacrificed to the claims or interests of 
cities ; or when, by a mistake or a curse, the power of 
legislations shall rise and extend the influence of great 
commercial cities, and push into the second line that of 
the country. 


The great life of the people, the unsullied democratic sub- 
stance, alone generates all the bright and vigorous aspects 
in the development of America. Beyond, shadows rise 
and deepen. Whatever breathes the spirit which ani- 
mates the people, grows and expands ; what deviates, 
separates, fails to emerge, and is not tempered therein, 
shrivels, corrugates, becomes inefficient, incomplete. This 
law is absolute. It controls social problems, political 
and legislative solutions ; it prevails in education, litera- 
ture, poetry, arts, industry ; it is felt in habits and customs, 
in the relations which constitute the daily, private, social 

Liberty fills the space, and therein — as the ethereal 
bodies in celestial immensities — individualities find their 
scope less restrained than in any human institutions hith- 
erto known. Each individuality grows self-asserting, ac- 
cording to its vitality and fecundity, each moving freely 
on its freely selected orbit. * Liberty and equality are 
forces which impel in America varieties of human fami- 
lies and characters to combination and union, precursory 
of the unity towards which gravitates mankind. Not the 
flock-like agglomeration of samenesses and uniformities, 
but tlie free harmonious combination of varieties is the 
key-note of social unity.' 

The progress that has hitherto been accomplished by 



America solves the question between authority and liber- 
ty, as elements paramount and integrally constitutive of 
human society. America incarnates liberty, Europe au- 
thority. America evidences — contrary to time-honored 
iind still generally asserted axioms — that liberty in super- 
seding authority does not disorganize society. Authority, 
in its various modes of comprehension, as principle and 
agency, is the substance of the dominant ideas and actions 
for Europe, even for the reforming, revolutionary portion 
of it. Here authority is wholly subordinate to liberty. 
In her all-embracing, all-creative activity, liberty alter- 
nates between lights and shadows, as did, as now does, au- 
thority. Short and dim are the shadows of liberty, but 
protracted in time and deep in tint, where authority is in 
the ascendant. It is now undeniably evidenced, that in 
the normal condition of man and society, liberty is cohe- 
sive and constructive, and more so than authority. Here 
liberty alone cements the social structure, it is a central 
hearth, towards which gravitate elements, passions, inter- 
ests, activities, once judged irreconcilable in their charac- 
ter and nature. Until the apparition of the American 
social state, the like elements have been considered as 
chaotic, dissolving, disorganizing, fit only to be compressed, 
to be held sternly, and directed by authority. Liberty, 
not authority, gathers, classifies, combines, adjusts, im- 
parts to them healthy vitality, regulates their orderly as- 
sociation. So almost boundlessly enlarges the range of 
action of the American people. 

The subjugation of authority to liberty corresponds 
with the dualistic essence and action of the laws of the 
universe, in their moral and physical functions. Spirit 
rises above matter, ethical laws finally operate over the 
physical. Liberty, essentially a moral law and force, ab- 
sorbs authority, which, even in its most philosophical 



and exalted conception, resolves itself into material sub- 

Witli liberty, therefore, as sole compass and pilot, so- 
ciety can traverse the inner and outer breakers and perils, 
without shaking in its foundations, disjoining and falling 
to pieces. Guided and inspired by liberty, America moves 
with stately impetuosity, and shall so move undisturbed in 
her luminous onward course. 



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